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Transforming the food system

Climate-action NGO WRAP is leading action across the food and drink industry.

When it comes to sustainable eating, we know our decisions matter. But how much do we really know about how what’s on our plate affects our planet?
Climate-action NGO WRAP is leading action across the food and drink industry to transform the food system, bringing companies together with its Courtauld Commitment 2030 – the sector’s leading voluntary agreement to combat climate change.

We had the opportunity to support WRAP and work alongside those in the food industry taking important, practical steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Do you worry about the size of your own carbon footprint? Or wonder how much of it comes from your meals? The reality is, when it’s all added up, the food and drink we consume chalks up a hefty carbon price tag.

Overall, our food production and consumption accounts for around 30 per cent of all UK and global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

It’s a huge, important issue that matters to consumers, as well as the companies across the food and drink sector who are prioritising climate action.

According to Deloitte insight, growing numbers of consumers across Europe, including in the UK, say they’re proactively making sustainable choices when it comes to food and drink. Similarly, for stakeholders and investors, a company’s ESG (environmental, social and governance) impact has never been more important.

But for many food and drink companies, decarbonising is far from easy because the vast majority of emissions from the products they handle are often outside of their direct control. Categorised as ‘scope 3’ emissions, they’re produced along the industry’s complex value chains.

Seeing the power of consensus in action is inspiring. It’s a privilege to play a part in helping the food and drink sector pull in the same direction.

Emily Cromwell
Partner, Deloitte

Pulling in the same direction

WRAP’s core purpose is to help people across the globe protect our planet by changing the way things are produced, consumed, and disposed of.

Working in collaboration with governments, businesses, local authorities, academics, NGOs and citizens, WRAP delivers the Courtauld Commitment 2030 - the sector’s leading voluntary agreement to transform the UK’s food system and combat climate change.

Challenging and ambitious, the Courtauld 2030 targets are fully aligned with UK and international environmental goals. One is focused on halving GHG emissions by 2030.

“Lots of food and drink companies have set out clear road maps for reducing the scope 1 and 2 emissions that are in their control and are making good progress,” says Deloitte partner Emily Cromwell.

“But when it comes to scope 3, which in some cases accounts for 95 per cent of company’s climate impact, it’s much more difficult.”

To target action where it’s most needed, for example, by addressing the top sources of emissions up and down supply chains, the sector needs consistent and trusted data.

Getting to this point requires a consensus to be built around the type of data suppliers and producers in supply chains can most usefully and reasonably provide.

Consensus in action

In May 2022, WRAP published the market’s first methodology to consistently measure and report food and drink GHG emissions alongside tools to help companies use it.

Designed to help the sector pull in the same direction, benefits of the Scope 3 GHG Measurement and Reporting Protocols for Food and Drink include helping companies of all sizes to navigate a complex area of ESG reporting, and freeing up time and resource for companies to spend on action-focused carbon-reduction activities.

“This is the challenge of our generation,” says WRAP CEO Harriet Lamb.

“We’re looking forward to cracking the nut of consistent measurement and reporting on greenhouse gas emissions in food and drink supply chains, so that we can unlock action to reduce those emissions at pace and at scale.”

Tailored to food and drink companies’ specific challenges and concerns, the reporting protocols are the result of in-depth consultation across the sector, which Deloitte was asked by WRAP to support.

“Our role on the project was to help draft consistent principles to be accepted across this large consortium of food and drink companies,” says Emily.

This meant working with WRAP’s experts and consulting with retailers, consumer packaged goods companies and others to understand and convene their views and bring together scope 3 and supply-chain emissions expertise.

Empowering an industry

Since their launch, the measurement and reporting protocols and associated tools are available on the WRAP website.

They are being piloted by a group of Courtauld 2030 signatories – and WRAP is urging more companies to adopt them, so the 2030 GHG target can be achieved.

The protocols are also now a significant part of the Retailer Net Zero Collaborative Action Programme. This is WRAP’s collaboration with WWF, its Retailers' Commitment for Nature Group and eight major retailers that have committed to standardise measurement and reporting of GHG emissions from food and drink – unprecedented action in such a competitive sector.

“Eventually, the goal is for consumers to see a benefit, as companies are able to make better-informed decisions and decarbonise their supply chains,” concludes Emily.

“By bringing leading food and drink companies together in this way, WRAP’s work is a vital, practical step towards transforming the food system.”

Through joining forces across our industry, driving consistency in our approach to measurement and committing to the innovation required to find new solutions, we can truly move the dial.

Simon Roberts
CEO, Sainsbury's

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