16 September 2020
We welcome Iceland’s announcement today that it will report annually on its plastic packaging footprint. We were also delighted recently to see Iceland report on its impressive food waste reduction. More businesses are now reporting publicly on their environmental footprints and we would like to recognise the leadership they are showing.
We have been working closely with all the businesses who are members of our voluntary agreements to measure and report in a consistent way. We do this with the Courtauld Commitment on food waste, the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan and The UK Plastics Pact.
UK Plastics Pact members account for 95% of UK supermarkets and 65% of brands (by market share). We collect and publish aggregated annual plastic packaging data from all members – in fact, we’ll be publishing data for 2019 in the next couple of months. Alongside the data we also highlight ‘real life’ examples of how plastic packaging is being reduced and redesigned to show how the Pact is bringing together the entire supply chain to inspire lasting change.
The food and drink sector has already made great progress on improving transparency with public reporting of food waste. This follows the ‘Target, Measure, Act’ model which is embedded in the Courtauld Commitment and is critical to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3. The prospect of mandatory reporting on food waste will strengthen this. We can learn from this consistent approach in the way we report on plastics packaging data.
We are challenging our UK Plastics Pact members to improve the granularity of data that they supply us, moving towards more item-based reporting, so that we can continue to identify where we need to focus our efforts. This is essential if we are to truly transform the way we make, use and dispose of plastic, and put an end to plastic pollution.
We need to be cautious about simply switching to other materials. All packaging has an environmental impact. We don’t want to see any packaging polluting our countryside, rivers or seas - whether it is paper, card, glass, metal or plastic. We also need to remember that packaging plays a key role in protecting and preserving food. The environmental impact of wasted food far exceeds that of its packaging. We need to use as little as possible but as much as necessary.