- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Sector of activity
Food & Beverage
Type of initiative
Capacity Building & Implementation, Policy Frameworks & Tools, Research, Analysis, Assessment
Type of lead actor
Between 2007 and 2015, UK food waste (excluding inedible parts) reduced by 19% per capita. The overall reduction in food waste was around a million tonnes, and £3.4 billion less food was wasted from households in 2015 vs 2007. However, in recent years there has been a stalling of progress, and the primary objective for the Roadmap was to broaden and strengthen commitment by food businesses to help reduce food waste across the supply chain and in the home. It covers all sectors (production, manufacture, retail and hospitality & food service), with ambitious and measurable milestones, supported by resources to enable action – in businesses’ own operations, with their suppliers and consumers (customers and staff).
Achieving SDG12.3, which the Roadmap will help with, will save businesses millions of pounds, helping to make them more competitive and efficient. Consumers could save hundreds of pounds a year. Reducing food waste also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions (and is a key component of the governments carbon budget) and water / land use. Increasing redistribution of surplus food (preventing it from becoming waste) is a key component of this work, benefitting a wide range of charities and local organisations. Achieving these key objectives that relate to all parts of the supply chain, right through to consumers, will contribute to more sustainable modes of production and consumption.
The roadmap was launched in September 2018, with considerable media attention, both mainstream and trade. Measurement activities are already underway by a range of food businesses and suppliers. The activities the roadmap sets out for businesses to do in order to meet targets are:
o Target – Set a food waste reduction target for their own UK operations
[Adopting the Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 target to reduce food waste across their own UK operations by 50% by 2030 or setting a target for reducing food waste that contributes to SDG12.3]
o Measure – Measure in a consistent way and share what they’ve learnt
[Use the UK template and guidelines to measure food surplus and waste in accordance with the international Food Loss and Waste Standard. Report using the UK template, and provide a narrative on progress]
o Act – Take action to reduce their own food waste, work in partnership with suppliers and help consumers reduce their food waste
[Use data to plan and deliver food waste reduction actions across their own UK business operations, and work in partnership with suppliers and engage consumers, to reduce food waste from farm to fork]
Publicly report their own UK company results, or work towards this best practice, and share successes and lessons learned. Share data with those responsible for tracking and facilitating progress, and publishing aggregate data as appropriate (e.g. WRAP, trade bodies). Be as robust and transparent as possible.
As part of the implementation plan, retailers are also leading workshops and events, reaching several hundred further businesses ranging from global brands to smaller suppliers.
Impact and Results
Widespread adoption of Target, Measure, Act is vital to achieve national policy objectives and targets on food waste reduction, including Courtauld 2025 and SDG12.3. This is a very significant initiative, believed to be a world first, and a strong signal by the UK's largest food businesses of their commitment to help to deliver a halving of UK food waste by 2030 (and therefore the Courtauld 2025 and SDG12.3 targets).
90 early adopters supported the Roadmap at launch, and by September 2019 the aim is to have fifty per cent of the UK’s largest 250 food businesses measuring, reporting and acting on food waste (with all 250 companies doing so by 2026). A Roadmap for the hospitality and food service sector is currently in development and is planned to be published in March 2019. WRAP estimates that the early adopters can directly influence (i.e. within their own operations) almost a quarter of food waste in the supply chain (> 700,000 tonnes, worth almost £1.3 billion a year).
These businesses will of course also be able to influence the food waste from their suppliers (1.85 Mt is the total food wasted from manufacture, with potentially another 2.5 Mt from primary production) and consumers (customers and staff) (7.1 Mt from our homes, plus plate waste from eating out of home [34% of HaFS food waste is generated from customer plates; >0.33 Mt]).
By September 2019 the aim is to have 50% of the UK largest food businesses committed to ‘Target, Measure, Act’ (ca 125 businesses – i.e. 67 on top of the early adopters), who will be able to influence over 1.3 Mt of food waste from their direct operations (>40% of all UK supply chain food waste), worth over £1.9 billion a year.
By 2026 the aim is to have 100% of the UK largest food businesses committed to ‘Target, Measure, Act’ (ca 250 businesses), who will be able to influence over 2.3 Mt of food waste from their direct operations (>70% of all UK supply chain food waste), worth over £2.8 billion a year.
Next steps and how to get involved
The roadmap is available for download from the WRAP website, giving information for UK food businesses on how to get started with setting their food waste reduction target and reporting on their food waste.