Courtauld Commitment 3 supply chain targets on track for success

28th October 2015

WRAP today published the second interim report of Courtauld Commitment 3, which shows that manufacturing and retail waste has significantly reduced against the baseline 2012 figure.

Activity by signatories has helped achieve a considerable reduction in traditional grocery ingredient, product and packaging waste in the manufacturing and retail operations of participants, down 80,000 tonnes against the 2012 baseline. This shows strong progress towards the target standing at 3.2% after the first two years, against the overall 3% target by 2015 for the agreement.

The latest figures also show that efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions associated with packaging continue to exceed the target of maintaining a zero-increase level of CO2 emissions. The latest figures show a sustained positive reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 3.9%.

Progress remains well ahead of the packaging target, despite a backdrop of growing sales (up by more than 5% for signatories who reported sales data). Changes in the mix of packaging materials and increases in recycling rates resulted in the overall reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, despite packaging weight actually increasing by 0.7% over this same period. The increase in packaging weight itself was for single use transit packaging, rather than household (primary) packaging which continues to decrease by weight.  

Progress against the household food waste target is not collected annually, and 2015 data will be available for final year reporting in 2016.

Dr Richard Swannell, Director of Sustainable Food Systems at WRAP, said: “I’m delighted with the progress towards targets in the first two years of the Courtauld Commitment Phase 3. What makes Courtauld so effective is the sector-wide approach to tackling the most impactful areas. Not just thinking about what will help your business, but what will make a more environmentally and economically effective supply chain. It’s important we continue to strive in the final year of Courtauld Phase 3 and push the boundaries in the preparation for Courtauld 2025.”  

Although redistribution of surplus food to people is not a specific target under the Courtauld Commitment, redistribution does contribute towards the manufacturing and retail target. WRAP has worked with signatories to track progress and increase action in this area. With more signatories reporting data after two years, and a much more robust data set based on a re-clarification of the definition, WRAP estimates the level of redistribution to have increased by three quarters on the 2012 baseline, currently standing at around 20,000 tonnes.  

Resource Minister Rory Stewart said: “From farm to fork we all have a responsibility to waste less food. These latest figures reflect a lot of hard work from across the food and packaging supply chain and I want to congratulate the whole sector for coming together to cut waste, reduce packaging and increase food redistribution.”

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said; “The Scottish Government is committed to helping businesses cut waste and increase recycling. I welcome the progress the grocery sector is making on reducing the impact of packaging and particularly food waste. Recently I announced my intention to set a national food waste reduction target for Scotland as we need to make the most of the food that we already produce and eliminate needless waste, so I would encourage the grocery sector to build on this achievement.”

Welsh Government Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant said; “It is encouraging to see that we are moving in the right direction and are well ahead of our target. Preventing the landfilling of waste is a commitment we have made and forms part of the Welsh Government’s Environment Bill proposals.  All of us can still do more but I’m pleased at the progress that Courtauld signatories have made at the end of Year two.”’

DOE Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan said; “Two years in, we are making great progress.  I congratulate all involved on their hard work.  We all know it makes sense to cut down on food and packaging waste through innovative design, investment in resources and ultimately how we dispose of it.  It is important that we all play our part and I’m encouraged by the practical steps your collective action is making to benefit the environment and economy in the North.”


Notes to editors:

The Courtauld Commitment is funded by all four UK governments and run by WRAP, with work in Scotland delivered in conjunction with Zero Waste Scotland. The voluntary agreement was set up in 2005 to support businesses in improving their overall performance, and reduce their environmental impact. Phase 3 runs for three years from 2013 to 2015 with targets measured against a 2012 baseline across three areas:

  • Household food and drink target: Reduce household food and drink waste by 5% by 2015 from a 2012 baseline. Taking into account external influences, this target represents a reduction of 9% relative to anticipated changes in food and drink sales. 
  • Manufacturing & retail target: Reduce traditional grocery ingredient, product and packaging waste arising in grocery retail and manufacture by 3% by 2015, from a 2012 baseline. Taking into account external influences, this target represents a reduction of 8% relative to anticipated production and sales volumes.
  • Packaging target: Improve packaging design through the supply chain to maximise recycled content as appropriate, improve recyclability and deliver product protection to reduce food waste, while ensuring there is no increase in the carbon impact of packaging by 2015, from a 2012 baseline. Taking into account external influences, this target represents a carbon reduction of 3% relative to anticipated sales volumes.

Not all signatories were able to submit figures for this interim report and this review is subject to change as further data becomes available. For packaging, results are based on data from 50 of the 53 signatories and for manufacturing & retail waste the results are based on data from 44 of the 47 signatories eligible to report. The final results for the three year agreement will be published in 2016.

Courtauld 2025 - WRAP is developing a new farm-to-fork industry wide commitment to build on the work of the Courtauld Commitment; the Product Sustainability Forum and the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement. Courtauld 2025 begins in 2016 and will focus on optimising system-wide outcomes. Central to this will be helping consumers reduce avoidable food waste at home, and helping businesses share efficiency savings along supply chains, waste less and get more value from unavoidable waste and increase business resilience.


1. WRAP’s vision is a world where resources are used sustainably. It works in partnership with governments, businesses, trade bodies, local authorities, communities and individuals looking for practical advice to improve resource efficiency that delivers both economic and environmental benefits. @WRAP_UK

2. Our mission is to accelerate the move to a sustainable resource-efficient economy through: 

a. re-inventing how we design, produce and sell products,

b. re-thinking how we use and consume products, and

c. re-defining what is possible through re-use and recycling.

3. First established in 2000, WRAP is a registered charity.  WRAP works with UK governments and other funders to   help deliver their policies on waste prevention and resource efficiency.  WRAP is a registered Charity No 1159512 and registered as a Company limited by guarantee in England & Wales No 4125764. Registered office at Second Floor, Blenheim Court, 19 George Street, Banbury, Oxon, OX16 5BH.


Ian Palmer

PR Officer, WRAP
01295 819 677