Food IndustrySustainability Strategy
Department for Environment, Food and Rural AffairsNobel House17 Smith SquareLondon SW1P 3JRTelephone 020 7238 6000Website: www.defra.gov.uk
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Published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Printed in the UK, April 2006, on material that contains a minimum of 100% recycled fibrefor uncoated paper and 75% recycled fibre for coated paper.
Food Industry Sustainability Strategy
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Secretary of States ForewordEvidence of the adverse impact of human activity upon the planet is growingby the day and most visibly through climate change, the consequences ofwhich are proving devastating. The warning signs should not be ignored.We have to behave sustainably now, to safeguard the future.
The UKs sustainability goal, published in Securing the future in March2005, is to enable all people throughout the world to satisfy their basicneeds and enjoy a better quality of life without compromising the qualityof life of future generations. Achieving this goal is possible throughconcerted efforts, in particular partnership working between Government,business and other stakeholders.
Facing the Future, the Governments Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food, set out the wayahead for the farming sector and good progress is being made in its implementation. The FoodIndustry Sustainability Strategy builds on this and sets out the key priority areas for action beyondthe farmgate. It adds value by ensuring that all parts of the food chain are now encouraged toimprove their sustainability and adopt best practice under an industry-wide framework. This isparticularly important given the significant environmental and social impacts for which the sectorsconcerned food manufacturing, retailing, wholesale and food service are responsible.
The challenge for captains of the food and drink industry and others throughout the sector is tocontinue to achieve economic success whilst improving environmental and social performance.Widespread adoption of best practice is central to meeting this challenge. The Food IndustrySustainability Strategy therefore envisages much closer working between industry andGovernment best practice programmes. The provision of additional funding to Envirowise, theCarbon Trust and Waste Resources Action Programme allows room for an expected increase inindustry demand for the free consultancy and advice services that each provides. Success,nonetheless, hinges upon industry uptake of those services and, indeed, wider engagement inthe Strategys aims and objectives.
A key area of further work will be the assessment by stakeholders and Government best practiceexperts of the feasibility of certain targets set out in the Strategy, the measures necessary formaking progress and the means of monitoring success. I am, therefore, establishing a number ofindustry-led Champions Groups to carry out these and to report to me during the course of2006 or early in 2007. A Programme Board, to include trade representatives and otherstakeholders, will oversee implementation of the Strategy.
I am looking to captains of the food and drink industry for their full support for the Strategy,with all major food and drink companies making a full contribution. Taking action now will saveon what is demanded of us tomorrow, over which we may have less control and for which ourchildren and grandchildren will hold us responsible. Let us live today with an eye on needs fortomorrow. That, after all, is the very heart of sustainability and all of us should play a full partin its achievement.
Rt. Hon Margaret Beckett MP
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Executive Summary 2
Chapter One Introduction 71.1 Purpose 71.2 Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food 91.3 Priorities for a Food Industry Sustainability Strategy 111.4 How this strategy is set out 121.5 Cross cutting considerations 12
Chapter Two Sustainable Consumption and Production 142.1 What is the challenge? 142.2 The opportunity of SCP 142.3 The SCP approach 162.4 Evidence base 172.5 Product lifecycles 182.6 Business behaviour 202.7 Consumer behaviour 212.8 Public Procurement 24
Chapter Three Corporate Social Responsibility 263.1 What is the challenge? 263.2 What is already happening? 273.3 What more will Government and industry do? 283.4 How will we measure progress? 29
Chapter Four Primarily Environmental 304.1 Energy Use and Climate Change 304.2 Waste 364.3 Water 454.4 Food Transportation 50
Chapter Five Primarily Social 575.1 Nutrition and Health 575.2 Food Safety 635.3 Equal Opportunities 665.4 Health and Safety 705.5 Ethical Trading 73
Chapter Six Primarily Economic 786.1 Science-Based Innovation 786.2 Workforce Skills 826.3 Tackling Retail Crime 87
Chapter Seven Better Regulation 91
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Food Industry Sustainability Strategy:Executive Summary
Chapter 1: Introduction
1. The Governments new vision for sustainable development is set out in the SustainableDevelopment Strategy Securing the future launched by the Prime Minister in March 2005.It says that:
the goal of sustainable development is to enable all people throughout the world to satisfytheir basic needs and enjoy a better quality of life without compromising the quality of lifeof future generations.
2. This will be achieved through a sustainable, innovative and productive economy that delivershigh levels of employment; and a just society that promotes social inclusion, sustainablecommunities and personal wellbeing. This will be done in ways that protect and enhance thephysical and natural environment, and use resources and energy as efficiently as possible.
3. This agenda must be pursued urgently, as the planet is not capable of sustaining current levelsof production and consumption in developed countries and replicating them worldwide.
4. This Food Industry Sustainability Strategy (FISS), drawn up with the aid of Stakeholders, setsout how all those involved in the food and drink industry beyond the farm gate(manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and food service providers) in this country can, throughwidespread adoption of best practice, help achieve sustainable development. The foodindustry is well placed to contribute as it accounts for:
about 14% of energy consumption by UK businesses and 7 million tonnes of carbonemissions per year;
about 10% of all industrial use of the public water supply;
about 10% of the industrial and commercial waste stream;
25% of all HGV vehicle kilometres in the UK;
the provision of food choices and information that will assist consumers to adopt morehealthy and balanced diets;
12.5% of the UK workforce.
5. The FISS is not intended to be comprehensive or definitive. Rather, it seeks to tackle amanageable number of priority areas as identified by the FISS Stakeholder Group andconfirmed by public consultation. The FISS includes targets for making progress in keyareas, and a wide range of Key Performance Indicators to measure industry progressacross a broader range of activities based upon existing data sources.
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Chapter 2: Sustainable Consumption and Production
6. The FISS embraces Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP). The central challenge ofSCP is to break the link between economic growth and environmental impacts in recognitionof the absolute limits to the Earths capacity to absorb pollution and provide naturalresources. Achieving this requires a major shift towards delivering new products and serviceswith lower environmental impacts across their lifecycle. In practical terms, this meansgetting more from less through better products and services; cleaner, more efficientproduction processes; and shifts in consumption towards goods and services with lowerimpacts. The environmental actions committed to in the FISS will contribute towardsprogress. The FISS encourages industry to engage with benchmarking programmes andcommits Government to investigating the lifecycle impacts of the contents of an averagefood shopping trolley. Government is also establishing the Environment Direct service. Thiswill give clear independent advice to consumers on the impacts of choices they face andseek to improve understanding of the social and cultural influences that shape consumerchoices in order to narrow the gap between consumer awareness and actual behaviour.
Chapter 3: Corporate Social Responsibility
7. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is essentially the business contribution to sustainabledevelopment i.e. what companies do voluntarily over and above the legal minimumrequirements for social and environmental performance. The FISS challenges the foodindustry to devise a set of CSR criteria which will reflect the cont