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Collaboration aims to drive action on cutting climate impact of UK food and drink

31 March 2023

With estimates that food and drink consumed in the UK is responsible for around 35% of our territorial emissions, climate action NGO WRAP and WWF-UK have joined forces with eight UK retailers to standardise measurement and reporting of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from food and drink, and drive action on cutting the environmental impact of our food and drink.

The Retailer Net Zero CAP (Collaborative Action Programme) aims to take the sector towards Net Zero at the pace needed to meet existing commitments and mitigate the devastating effects of climate change. 

There is currently a range of different approaches and methods used to measure the carbon footprint of food and drink products, resulting in confusion and inefficiencies across the sector. The absence of a consistent methodology is creating an unreasonable burden on producers and suppliers in food supply chains, generating mistrust in environmental reporting data. It blocks meaningful action on reducing the impacts of our food system.

The standardisation aims to remove an important barrier to the food sector’s ability to meet challenging environmental targets, and to increase trust and confidence in using this information to take action on high-impact areas. The collaboration will enable the sector to identify and address challenges that are too big or complex for individual businesses to tackle successfully alone.

WRAP and WWF have secured commitment from Aldi, Co-op, Lidl, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Waitrose, who represent around 80% of UK grocery retail market share, to a two-phased programme. The first phase will ensure consistent measurement and reporting of scope 3 GHG emissions, building on the WRAP Scope 3 GHG measurement and protocols, and the piloting of these with 17 businesses across the food supply chain. 

It will also focus on scoping high-impact areas for collaboration to accelerate progress on reducing GHGs from the huge amount of our food that is sold in UK supermarkets. Phase 2, from 2024, will take action on these high-impact opportunities, and the investments needed to collaborate and meet targets. The programme will build an assessment of the action currently being undertaken by retailers on key areas of GHG mitigation and identify gaps. Using the Courtauld Commitment 2030 as a pre-existing governance vehicle, with widespread buy-in across the UK food sector, the programme will drive action on addressing these gaps.  

WRAP will ensure this work links with UK key initiatives on scope 3 data in food including the Food Data Transparency Partnership and the British Retail Consortium’s Mondra Coalition to ensure the approach taken to scope 3 reporting is both rigorous and practical.

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