Close up of fruit and vegetable scraps

History of the Courtauld Commitment

Tackling food waste, greenhouse gases and water stress in the UK food system since 2005...

The Courtauld Commitment is a series of voluntary agreements that has reduced the carbon and wider environmental impact of the UK food and drink sector. The first Courtauld Commitment was launched in 2005 at a Ministerial event at the Courtauld Gallery in London and has proven to be a long-lasting and powerful vehicle for change.

The agreements have been funded by UK Governments and the food sector, and delivered by WRAP.

Below is an overview of the phases of the Courtauld Commitment and what has been achieved. The current phase, the Courtauld Commitment 2030, has more ambitious targets than ever before, which fully align the UK with global environmental goals.

Interested in becoming a signatory? Contact the Courtauld Commitment team.

The Courtauld Commitment 2030

The Courtauld Commitment 2030, the current phase of the agreement, enables collaborative action across the entire UK food chain to deliver farm-to-fork reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, food waste and water stress.

Interested in becoming a signatory? Contact the Courtauld Commitment team.

The Courtauld Commitment 2025

Courtauld 2025 brought together organisations across the food system to make food & drink production and consumption more sustainable. The agreement had ambitious targets spanning food waste, water and greenhouse gas emissions. 2015-18 saw a 7% reduction in food waste (480,000 tonnes), 7% reduction in GHG emissions (7.1 million tonnes CO2e) and collective action projects targeting water scarcity.

The Hospitality and Food Service Agreement

The Hospitality and Food Service Agreement was an ambitious, three-year voluntary agreement developed by WRAP with the industry, for the industry, and supported by all UK governments. It was launched in 2012 with the aim of reducing waste and increase recycling rates within the sector in the UK. Over 230 leading signatories and supporters signed up to support these aims, covering approximately 25% of the UK sector (calculated by food and drink sales, including wholesale and distribution). A number of these organisations are continuing to work with WRAP under the Courtauld Commitment.

The Courtauld Commitment Phase 3

The Courtauld Commitment Phase 3 launched in May 2013 and ran until 2015. It aimed to further reduce the weight and carbon impact of household food waste, grocery product and packaging waste, both in the home and the UK grocery sector. 53 leading retailers, brands and manufacturers worked with WRAP to achieve over £100 million business savings by reducing food waste:

  • Product and packaging waste reduced by 3%
  • Recovery and recycling rate grew from 95% in 2012 to 99% in 2015
  • 7% reduction in carbon impact of food and drink packaging
  • A notable increase in surplus food and drink redistributed for human consumption

The Courtauld Commitment 2

Phase 2 (2010-2012) built on Phase 1, still aiming to reduce primary packaging and household food and drink waste, but also included secondary and tertiary packaging, and supply chain waste. It moved from reducing weight to reducing the carbon impact of packaging.

A total of 1.7 million tonnes of waste was reduced through the influence of Phase 2. This impact has a monetary value of £3.1 billion and equates to a reduction of 4.8 million tonnes of CO2e.

The Courtauld Commitment 1

The Courtauld Commitment 1 (2005-2009) looked at new solutions and technologies so that less food and primary packaging ended up as household waste. It brought food waste onto the agenda.

Over the four-year period of Phase 1, 1.2 million tonnes of food and packaging waste was prevented, with a monetary value of £1.8 billion, and a saving of 3.3 million tonnes of CO2e, which is equivalent to the emissions from 500,000 round-the-world flights.

As a result of actions by signatories, Love Food Hate Waste, local authorities and charity partners, 670,000 tonnes of food waste and 520,000 tonnes of packaging waste was avoided across the UK.

Interested in becoming a signatory? Contact the Courtauld Commitment team.