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WRAP to introduce controversial carbon target in new Courtauld Commitment - UPDATE

A new Courtauld Commitment is set to be launched by the Waste & Resources Action Programme this week that will introduce new carbon targets for signed-up retailers, food manufacturers and packaging manufacturers.

WRAP is to set a 10% carbon reduction target for signatories to meet, but this will be an overall target rather than a target for each individual signatory. The carbon target will be met by either reducing packaging used or reducing the weight of the packaging, using more recycled content in the packaging or by increasing the amount of recycling of existing packaging.

Being dubbed Courtauld 2 by the companies and organisations involved, this agreement will involve all signatories committing to meeting the targets rather than as before some just being supporters. This meant that some businesses involved had strict targets while supporters had aspirational targets.

However, MRW understands that the move has created quite a bit of disquiet among previous signatories and supporters, although many now feel compelled to be involved rather than backtrack from the commitment.

One insider told MRW: If one company only meets 2% of the target, will this mean another has to do 18%? Apparently, a lifecycle analysis of a product can have errors of up to 20%, it therefore does not make it easy to ensure this 10% target will be met or indeed accurately met. But where has this 10% target come from and does the level of this target have any scientific basis or is it just a number plucked from the air? These are questions WRAP hasnt been able to answer.

Packaging Federation chief executive Dick Searle added: I think it is essential that the Courtauld Commitment moves as quickly as possible and starts to focus on the carbon impact of products. This is because it is the demand for products that drive the demand for packaging. Courtauld 2 focuses on reducing food waste, both household food waste and food waste in the supply chain. Packaging should be tackled with a view to reduce wastage and increase resource efficiency.

He said that WRAP intends to launch Courtauld 3 in 2012. Courtauld 3 is expected to focus more on the carbon impacts of products. He questioned whether it was right for people to be buying strawberries in February and said that packaging products can help save more resources than they use.

Searle said: Packaging should not be in the spotlight it is a solution not a problem.

It is expected that WRAP will launch the new agreement at an event this Thursday.

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