Waste not, want not

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UK grocery manufacturers and retailers are beating their targets for cutting supply chain waste, according to WRAP, the government-backed organisation driving improvements in waste management.

Supply chain waste was cut by 8.8 per cent in two years against a target of five per cent over three years which was set in phase two of the Courtauld Commitment. Of course, when targets are beaten so comprehensively, there is always a suspicion that the targets were not tough enough.

But let’s not be churlish. Companies have done significantly better in reducing supply chain waste than in packaging where the reduction is 8.2 per cent in two years against a three year commitment of 10 per cent. That’s still not bad – and the target is still likely to be exceeded.

WRAP argues that while the cost and efficiency benefits of tackling waste prevention across the supply chain are now being realised, work is still needed to embed good practices allowing businesses to reap the full benefits of reducing waste.

Dr Richard Swannell, director of design and waste prevention at WRAP, says: “The reduction in supply chain waste is particularly important given it’s a new area for Courtauld. In this, its final year, we are continuing to work with the sector to help ensure the Courtauld Phase 2 targets are met in full.”

Phase 2 of the Courtauld Commitment is due to conclude in a couple of months time, and discussions are now taking place on the next steps. WRAP says the agreed outcome will aim to build on the significant progress delivered so far for both phases of the voluntary agreement.

it’s too early to tell what that will mean in practice. What is clear is that after this striking success companies will be under pressure to do even better.

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