26 April, 2006 - A STRATEGY to tackle the impact of the food industry on precious resources, such as energy and water and its contribution to climate change, was published by Margaret Beckett, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, today.
Mrs Beckett said: "As an industry the food sector has a significant
role to play in achieving a sustainable future for this country.
The Food Industry Sustainability Strategy has been developed in partnership with the food and drink industry and others. It aims to improve the industry's environmental, social and economic performance, by developing a strong partnership between government and industry. It addresses all sectors of the food industry, beyond the farm gate to the consumer's plate. The strategy's ambitions are for the industry as a whole to:
* reduce its carbon emissions by 20% by 2010 against a 1990 baseline;
* reduce water use by 10-15% by 2010 and by 20-25% in the South East
* significantly reduce the environmental and social costs of its
domestic food transportation by 2012; and
* the food manufacturing sector to reduce its food waste by 15-20% by
Mrs Beckett said: "As an industry the food sector has a significant role to play in achieving a sustainable future for this country. "There are many ways this can be done - whether it is by minimising packaging, making food transportation more efficient or reducing the amount of water the industry uses in its processes..
"Rising energy and water prices, not to mention the increasingly
self-evident consequences of climate change, are timely reminders of
the need for action.
"Sustainability requires behavioural changes, in particular the
widespread adoption of best practice. We all have a role to play in
meeting the challenge of sustainability.
"The Strategy will provide a framework for the food and drink sector to play its part by making sustainability its goal. It must be viewed as the beginning of a process - not the end."
Closer working between industry and Government best practice programmes, such as the Carbon Trust, Envirowise and the Waste Resources Action Programme, will underpin the strategy. Each programme has previously been provided with increased funding, including through the Business Resource Efficiency Waste (BREW) programme, to enable them to support the growing demand for their services.