19 May 2022
- WRAP develops world’s first methodology to accurately measure and report food and drink GHG emissions consistently in a huge advance in the fight against climate change.
- 15 Courtauld 2030 signatories, from suppliers to high street retailers, testing protocols to accelerate progress on scope 3 accounting across the sector.
- UK pioneers work to inform international approach to consistent measuring and reporting of scope 3 GHG emissions.
On Earth Overshoot Day, climate action NGO WRAP, announces a major step forward in its mission to #TransformOurFood with the release of the new Courtauld 2030 Scope 3 Measurement & Reporting Protocols for UK Food & Drink businesses.
Working closely with businesses, governments, academics and expert bodies WRAP has responded to an urgent call for direction for UK businesses. The charity has consulted widely with the food and drink sector, including Courtauld 2030 signatories, to develop brand new resources that any business can use, with minimum training.
Why Scope 3 matters
Food production and consumption are responsible for around 30% of global GHG emissions. By creating space for agriculture, it also contributes to between 60% - 80% of biodiversity loss through the destruction of natural habitats. In this way the food system has a critical role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but up until now has struggled with inconsistent approaches to measuring the GHG emissions of the nation’s favourite foods.
The new Protocols will give businesses a consistent methodology for measuring and tracking their progress in reducing supply chain emissions. This will help ensure evidenced and rational decision-making on how to ensure businesses meet their declared targets to reduce GHGs from their operations. For example, by identifying the top 10 sources of GHGs in their business based on the products they buy and taking targeted action to reduce these. Food producers will also be able to supply the same data to each of their customers, which will cut the cost and effort of measuring and managing emissions.
A market-first, the WRAP Protocols will mean faster progression towards achieving the Courtauld 2030 GHG target of a 50% absolute reduction in GHG emissions associated with food and drink consumed in the UK by 2030.
Until today, there has been a lack of clear guidance for food and drink businesses regarding a consistent way of quantifying supply chain emissions, and businesses have been stuck. Common concerns relayed to WRAP by those undertaking GHG assessments include having to use expensive external consultancies, and of data sources being old and unreliable. The new protocols have been designed to be easy to use and to up-skill staff in-house, for a wide range of food & drink business.
Marcus Gover, WRAP CEO: “WRAP’s new Protocols give businesses a consistent way of quantifying supply chain emissions, and the confidence of a uniform way of comparing products and value chains. They provide a solution for investors who want assurance that they are investing in sustainably minded businesses; and help citizens who want to align their purchases with their values by helping businesses be clear, transparent and able to report publicly their Scope 3 emissions.
“We will not fix climate change until we fix the food system. By listening to the voice of the food and drink industry, WRAP is playing a major role in changing the way food is produced, to deliver a more sustainable food system.”
What are the Protocols?
For the first time, WRAP is providing food & drink businesses with clear steps and practical guidance on how to apply global guidance for measuring scope 3 emissions into their own business - easily. The resources will help all food and drink businesses to measure their emissions systematically and consistently, as well as explaining how to set credible targets to reduce them.
It builds on WRAP’s ‘Food Systems GHG Emissions’ report released last year, which quantified the total UK food & drink consumption footprint and pathway to a 50% reduction by 2030.
- Scope 3 Measurement & Reporting Protocols for UK Food & Drink businesses – guide. This makes using existing globally accepted guidance such as Greenhouse Gas Protocol and Science Based Targets Initiative, as well as sector-specific guidance easier to implement. The focus is on ‘purchased goods’. with the Protocols also providing guidance on determining the key organisational hotspots for emissions, judging data needs and tracking & reporting on progress.
- Scope 3 Measurement & Reporting Protocols for UK Food & Drink businesses – summary. Designed for senior decision-makers and international audiences, this is an at-a-glance summary, signposting the key information that businesses need to take action.
- Supplier/product questionnaire. Recommended questions for businesses to ask supply chains when requesting data.
An additional resource marking the next stage of this project is currently being peer reviewed. The ‘Emissions factor database,’ which will complete the Protocols toolkit, is due for release later this year. This resource will be an interim solution to the inconsistency of emission factor data sets whilst the industry works towards better supply chain data through a variety of initiatives including piloting of the WRAP scope 3 GHG protocols. Businesses can get in touch to find out more about this resource and be notified of its launch by emailing
15 Courtauld 2030 signatories - including ABP, ABWF, Albert Bartlett, Apetito, AVARA, Barfoots, Bidfood (with CI support), CH&Co, Hilton Food Group plc, Kepak, Sainsburys, Tesco and Westmill - have signed up to the Protocols pilot phase, and shared learnings from the pilot program will be shared with C2030 signatories to accelerate progress on scope 3 accounting more broadly across the sector.
Furthermore, WRAP believes this unique body of work has the potential to inform a more international approach towards consistent measuring and reporting of scope 3 GHG emissions, which will continue to be a key focus for the organisation as the year progresses. The Protocols show the power of voluntary agreements like Courtauld 2030 and collaboration to deliver sustainable change and achieve UK and international targets.
Marcus Gover continued, “This work goes to the heart of what WRAP is trying to achieve – we can only tackle climate change and protect our planet by changing the way things are produced, consumed and disposed of. While still early stages, our GHG Protocols are truly ground-breaking and are the first time that a consistent approach to measuring scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions has been used at a national level across the food & drink sector. We must be able to measure the carbon footprint of food if we are to halve greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by 2030.”
Minister for Climate Adaptation, Jo Churchill: “The food sector is already leading the way in tackling climate change, from farm to fork, delivering more sustainable ways to cut food waste. WRAP’s new guidance will help food and drink businesses go further and do all that they can to reduce emissions in their supply chains.”
Judith Batchelar, Deputy Chair of the Environment Agency: “We should never forget that when it comes to climate change we are all in this together, which is why the work that WRAP have facilitated with businesses who are working hard to define and reduce their Scope 3 GHG emissions is key. The Courtauld Commitment and its signatories will be assessed in the future on their track record of delivery, that in turn can only be achieved through consistent reporting. Today, Earth Overshoot Day, is an important day on the journey to Net Zero and measuring our progress towards that goal.”
Emma Piercy, Head of Climate Change & Energy Policy at The Food and Drink Federation: “Many food and drink businesses are now setting Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction targets which encompass their full supply chains but have faced the challenge of how to consistently demonstrate and deliver progress against these targets. The FDF welcomes WRAP’s new protocols as a response to industry demand for credible and consistent measurement of scope 3 GHG emissions and will help propel the sector towards the Courtauld 50% GHG reduction target by 2030.”
Notes to Editor
- WRAP is a climate action NGO working around the globe to tackle the causes of the climate crisis and give the planet a sustainable future. Our vision is a thriving world in which climate change is no longer a problem. We believe that our natural resources should not be wasted and that everything we use should be re-used and recycled. We bring together and work with governments, businesses and individuals to ensure that the world’s natural resources are used more sustainably. Our core purpose is to help tackle climate change and protect our planet by changing the way things are produced, consumed and disposed of.
- Our work includes: UK Plastics Pact, Courtauld Commitment 2030, Textiles 2030 and the citizen campaigns Love Food Hate Waste, Love Your Clothes, Clear on Plastics and Recycle Now. We run Food Waste Action Week and Recycle Week. More about WRAP’s work in food and drink can be found here, and information on our work to reduce GHG emissions is here.
- The Courtauld Commitment 2030 is a voluntary agreement that enables collaborative action across the entire UK food chain to deliver farm-to-fork reductions in food waste, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water stress that will help the UK food and drink sector achieve global environmental goals. WRAP experts are available for broadcast interviews, briefings and comment – contact: Frances Armitage, Media Relations Specialist, [email protected] and 07971656172. www.wrap.org.uk