Food manufacturers slash carbon emissions

The food manufacturing industry has slashed its carbon emissions by 17% since 1990 - the equivalent of taking 22,000 cars off UK roads each year.

The latest Food and Drink Federation (FDF) report shows that its members - which include Kerry Foods, Birds Eye and Unilever - are making good progress towards achieving their goal of cutting emissions by 20% in 2010 compared to 1990, one of five targets set out in its Environment Action plan.

Fiona Dawson, chair of FDF's Sustainability and Competitiveness Steering Group, said: "Our report demonstrates that our members are committed to making a real difference to the environment. The reduction in CO2 emissions is an incredible achievement and sets us well on the way to reaching our target of cutting emissions by 20% by 2010."

Results show that food manufacturers are also making progress in reducing waste sent to landfill, packaging waste, water use and food miles. Since the Environmental Action plan was launched in October 2007, FDF members have prevented over half a million tonnes of food waste being created; recycled or recovered 82% of the food and packaging waste created in factories; and doubled their participation in the Courtauld Commitment on packaging.

They have also launched two new commitments: the Federation House Commitment - under which 237 food and drink manufacturing sites across the UK are working to improve water efficiency; and the Checklist and Clause for Greener Food Transport - which is being used by 47 member companies with combined turnover of £17bn to achieve fewer and friendlier food miles.

"As with other sectors, we are currently experiencing challenging economic times. However, our members remain determined to meet the commitments contained in FDF's Five-fold Environmental Ambition," said Dawson.

Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said that the FDF results were an "impressive example" of what businesses could do to improve environmental performance by working together, but added that though they are a "good start", more could be done.

"I hope FDF will encourage more companies to do their bit. This is vital if we are to meet challenging carbon reduction targets and maintain prosperity through sustainable patterns of consumption and production," he said.

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