Blog: Is the UK the greenest of them all?
Dean Best | 25 October 2007
After attending three London conferences in three days that debated environmental and sustainability issues in the food industry, there is no doubt the UK is at the centre of the green debate.
In the last year or two, food manufacturers and retailers have opened their eyes to the role that they can play in the effort to tackle issues like climate change. From government-backed initiatives like WRAP and the Courtauld Commitment to moves from FMCG companies like Cadbury Schweppes, industry is taking the lead in the environmental debate.
Today, the UK food and drink industry, under the guise of the Food and Drink Federation, said it would go further and launched a five-point plan to tackle environmental issues.
Sure, more needs to be done, but as UK Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said, the food industry should be applauded. With food accounting for some 30% of greenhouse gases across Europe, the industry has to play a central role in combating climate change. Other problems, like cutting water use and reducing the amount of waste sent to landfall, are also issues that the industry should face – and it has outlined plans to do so.
Of course, this isn’t altruism. There is a business benefit for manufacturers. With consumers taking a growing interest in green issues and in how they can help the environment, it has become in the interest of business to hammer home their green credentials.
But business needs to be brave. Times are tight. This year, the food industry has suffered from myriad issues from rising commodity costs to floods to foot and mouth. Nevertheless, executives must remember that cutting waste means cutting costs. And being green will present lucrative, future opportunities for those that act now.
But is it just the UK that is acting on environmental issues? just-food’s reach stretches far and wide, from Baltimore to Bangalore. We’re keen to hear from your business if you’re acting to combat climate change and to drill a more sustainable ethos into your business. Send us your news to email@example.com
Postcript: So – the Soil Association has decided not to ban air-freighted produce from having organic status in the UK. That decision comes as something of a relief. The ban would have threatened the livelihoods of farmers in the developing world who depend on Western markets.
Danone completed its US$12.5bn acquisition of WhiteWave Foods this week. The move will roughly double Danone's presence in North America, where WhiteWave is a top four dairy player. ...
Premier Foods plc revealed today (28 March) it has secured a deal with its pension scheme trustees that will see the UK food maker reduce its pension burden....
Hain Celestial, under the scrutiny of the investment community in recent months and facing some challenges in its domestic market, has announced another shuffling of its management pack....
FrieslandCampina, which today served up higher profits but lower sales for 2016, is ready to offload the last non-dairy business owned by the Dutch cooperative giant....
- Danone's Q1: four things to learn
- Interview: Sir Kensington's on sale to Unilever
- Column: Why snacking is the new meal
- Nestle Q1 update: four things to learn
- Interview: "Disruptive" snack brand Hippeas
- Tyson shops Sara Lee bakery, Kettle and Van's
- Nestle to cut UK confectionery jobs
- Icelandic to sell Saucy Fish Co. owner Seachill
- Tyson to buy burger-to-entree firm AdvancePierre
- PepsiCo affirms full-year target as Q1 hits mark