The new coalition Government has shown support for the Courtauld Commitment 2 when new Environment Minister, Lord Henley, attended the inaugural meeting of signatories in London.
The meeting was organised by WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) which manages the voluntary agreement on behalf of the UK Governments.
As well as founding signatories, new companies to sign up to the commitment also attended, including Burton Foods, Ferrero UK, Greencore, Heineken UK, Moy Park and Northern Ireland’s first company to sign up, Dale Farm.
At the closed meeting, signatories took part in WRAP-led workshops to identify barriers and solutions to achieve the three targets that form the second phase of the commitment.
Lord Henley said: “The Courtauld Commitment is a great example of Government and some of Britain’s leading companies working together to optimise food and packaging waste. I’m delighted to see these new signatories joining those taking up the challenge of Phase 2 of the Commitment.
“I would encourage all retailers and manufacturers to think about and act to reduce waste.”
Referring to leaders from the grocery retail sector as ‘innovative and inspiring’, he congratulated signatories for taking the opportunity to turn environmental pressure into competitive advantage and playing their part in the new green economy.
As well as congratulating signatories on the work done during the first phase of Courtauld, he also recognised some of the challenges that lay ahead including the relationship between reducing food waste and reducing packaging.
He also encouraged signatories to spread the word to ensure that ‘everyone in society understands the problem and feels they can be part of the solution’.
“This Government is right behind you – the Prime Minister has pledged that this will be the greenest Government ever, and waste is one of the biggest environmental challenges facing this country. We must all work together, exploring ideas, sharing innovations and successes,” he added.
A total of 29 major retailers and brand owners were the founding signatories when Courtauld Commitment 2 launched in March. The latest companies to join the initiative bring the total number of signatories to 36, after M&S formalised their involvement just days after the official launch.
Using 2009 data and working to a 2012 deadline, Courtauld Commitment 2 moves away from solely weight-based targets and aims to achieve more sustainable use of resources over the entire lifecycle of products, throughout the whole supply chain.
Liz Goodwin, WRAP’s CEO, said that partnership working would become increasingly important.
She added: “The second phase of Courtauld looks at what can be achieved across the entire retail supply chain. In other words, we have to recognise that the biggest changes come when we consider the entire lifecycle of a product and its packaging.
“That means working together to make changes from the point of production right through to the point of household impact - partnership in the truest sense.”