Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of MRW, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Courtauld 2: little progress on supply chain waste

The food and drink industry failed to significantly reduce product and packaging waste in the UK grocery supply chain in the first year of the Courtauld Commitment 2 agreement.

According to a progress report [pdf] published by WRAP, supply chain product and packaging waste fell by just 0.4% in 2010. The voluntary agreement signed by 53 leading UK grocery retailers and suppliers last year commits to a reduction of 5% from 2009 to the end of 2012.

The target aims to reduce the 6.6 million tonnes of supply chain waste. The 0.4% reduction achieved represents a decrease of 10,000 tonnes between 2009 and 2010.

Dr Liz Goodwin, chief executive of WRAP, said: “The supply chain target is proving more of a challenge with only a marginal decrease. While this is not surprising as it is a new area within the agreement, and one which takes longer for changes to be implemented, we need to work hard and stay focussed to achieve this target.”

Better progress was reported by WRAP in the two other areas targeted by Courtauld 2 – packaging and household food waste.

WRAP reported a 5.1% fall in greenhouse emissions associated with primary and single-use packaging in 2010 – more than half the 10% target. However, decreases in the proportion of packaging material being recycled (61.8% in 2009 to 60.7% in 2010) and increases in emissions from transportation contributed to an overall increase in greenhouse emissions associated with grocery packaging.

There was also a reduction in household food and drink waste of 3% last year. Courtauld 2 set a reduction target of 4 % by 2012. UK households still wasted more than 7 million tonnes of food last year, responsible for 17 million tonnes of carbon equivalent emissions.

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF), which represents the manufacturing industry, said it was delighted by the progress made on the Courtauld Commitment 2. Andrew Kuyk, FDF’s director of sustainability and competitiveness, said: “The Courtauld Commitment is a key part of FDF’s five-fold environmental ambition and we are delighted to see the good overall progress made by signatories over the first year of Phase 2 in two out of the three target areas dealing with packaging and household waste.

“In particular FDF signatory companies appear to be performing well against the supply chain waste target. Clearly, more needs to be done to ensure all the targets are achieved by 2012 and we will continue to work with WRAP to support signatory companies, including developing ways to prevent waste arising at the outset in line with the waste hierarchy.”  


First Year Results (2009 vs 2010)First year reductionTarget   
Household food and drink waste3%4%
Supply chain product and packaging waste0.4%5%

Readers' comments (1)

  • Can the Courtauld Commitment really claim credit for a 3% fall in food waste?
    The methodology employed to calculate the decrease just looks at the gross figures from local authorities. It doesn't take account of any other factors that might be driving change, or show any plausible link between the change and actions undertaken. It seems pretty problematic to me.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.