In November 2021, 65 key stakeholders from across all sectors of the UK food industry and water stewardship community came together to support WRAP’s Water Roadmap, embarking on a collective journey to address water risk in our food & drink supply chain.
This report highlights the areas of progress made since launch and outlines the urgent need for greater action and commitment from businesses and industry as a whole.
- Awareness around water use and availability, quality and pollution rose sharply this year.
- Food & drink businesses need to do more to gain knowledge of their impact on water: less than half of businesses submitting data had undertaken a risk assessment and even fewer reported that they had identified water risk hotspots.
- More work was also needed around internal action: whilst 58% of manufacturing businesses had set water-related targets for their own operations, this dropped to 36% of retail and 12% in the hospitality and food service sector.
- A new collective action project was launched in Southern Spain, taking the total to 7. These projects bring food & drink businesses, NGOs, farmers, local government and other stakeholders together to tackle water risk in some of the most important food & drink sourcing areas, at home and overseas.
- 17 businesses have funded collective action projects. Collective action projects have reported engaging more than 90 stakeholders and 700 farmers. These projects have resulted in over 135 farm visits and 34 farm management plans being put in place. As a result of nearly 40 interventions (for example tree-planting, pond creation and invasive species clearance) the projects have reported more than 1.783 billion litres of water replenished to local communities and nature (an increase from 1bn the year before).
The progress report calls on food & drink businesses to do three main things, to help achieve our Courtauld target and increase the volume of fresh food being sourced from areas of sustainable water management:
- Sign up to the Water Roadmap and establish your own water stewardship strategies, plans and targets;
- Carry out water risk assessments and map your supply chains to identify water risk hotspots;
- Invest in collective action projects.
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Water Roadmap Progress Report Nov 2021-March 2023
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