Climate change and the food industry

There has been lots of discussion in the media, online, and in homes and workplaces across the country recently on climate change with Cop26 taking place in Glasgow earlier this month. Many would have been moved by the words of the Prime Minister of Barbados which laid out the real fight countries across the world face.

The global food system undoubtedly has a significant role to play in the fight against climate change, with its environmental impact currently accounting for a third of total greenhouse gas emissions. This last year, key topic trends dominating the food industry have been around packaging, the supply chain, and food waste which are all linked to sustainability.

  • Of all plastic used globally a huge 40% is used for food packaging, and virtually all of it is single-use. In March 2020, the UK Government announced a plastic packaging tax that will come into force in April 2022 which aims to discourage companies from using plastic packaging.
  • Buying local is not only now being seen as key to a more sustainable supply chain but is also more economical and the key message of the Buy British campaign launched at Cop26.
  • With a third of food produced for human consumption wasted, including 240,000 tonnes thrown away for UK supermarkets, the UK Government has committed to halving the UK’s per capita food waste by 2030.

From local manufacturers to large international organisations, there has been some bold plans and changes made to processes, factories, product ranges, supply chains and packaging to reduce carbon footprint across the UK. A few examples include Belvoir Farm who recently installed a solar panel roof as part of their drive to be carbon neutral by 2030 and Yorkshire Tea who are already carbon neutral by ensuring things like 100% of the gas and electricity at their headquarters comes from renewable resources.

The UK food sector has also announced that under the Courtauld Commitment it plans to halve greenhouse gas emissions and food waste by 2030. The Courtauld Commitment is an ambitious voluntary agreement, that is supported by WRAP and UK Governments, to bring together organisations across the food system to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable.

As an engineering company working in the food and drink industry, and as a member of the Energy Institute, here at FESS we have also made changes and commitments to improve our sustainable energy practices. This includes minimizing our energy and water consumption and committing adequate funds, time, and resources to monitor and reduce our environmental impact. As registered waste carriers we will also recycle waste wherever possible and ensure the safe handling, use, and disposal of substances that may damage the environment. Practically we’ll also reduce our carbon footprint by the monitoring of journeys made by our vehicles in order to reduce their mileage and fuel consumption, including limiting journeys and car sharing where possible. We’ll also consider how future purchases of raw materials, energy, and supplies fit with our environmental policy, making conscious purchasing decisions in line with our environmental policy.

We support manufacturers across the food industry to review and replace their processing systems and machinery for more sustainable, efficient, and economical solutions. From leading plant-based manufactures like Quorn and Tofoo to Morrison’s and Two Sisters we are proud to be supporting these organisations play their part in reducing their carbon footprint and collectively helping tackle climate change.

If you’d like to discuss how we can support you climate change and sustainability plans, please get in touch with our specialist team.

Together we can make a difference.

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