In 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development developed a definition of sustainability that was included in its findings, which became known as the Brundtland Report. This stated that:
Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Over 95 per cent of chilled prepared foods are sold under retailers’ own labels. Producers therefore have to meet all of their retail customers’ legislative and non-legislative requirements including sustainable sourcing, one example being for sustainable palm oil.
Another example is BRC net zero status by 2040, a decade ahead of the Government’s 2050 stated goal. Sustainable sourcing is one of the important elements that will help meet this aim.
Our members deliver retailers’ commitments and aspirations and are, in fact, ahead of the curve.
CFA plays an active and often leading role in environmental issues including waste and climate change-related matters. For more than two decades we have been closely involved in numerous sustainability activities and initiatives including:
- £1.3m Sustainable Shelf Life Extension (SUSSLE) research programme
- Government review of the energy taxation landscape
- WRAP review of storage instructions including date marking and freezing
- WRAP review of domestic refrigerator performance and design improvements
- WRAP projects on packaging minimisation and recyclability
- WRAP projects on the usage of waste in agriculture – CFA’s aim is to ensure that appropriate technical standards are in place to prevent the safety of crops being compromised
- Research at Sheffield Hallam University comparing energy usage and waste arising from domestic vs industrial production of lasagne
- Defra-funded projects at the Open University investigating attitudes towards organic waste-derived materials, and at Cranfield/IGD on the impact of trade relationships on waste
We are also engaged with:
- Courtauld 2025 (C2025) – signatory
- UK Food Waste Reduction Roadmap – signatory
- UK Plastics Pact – signatory
- Anti-deforestation initiatives:
We are proud of our industry’s record in sustainability and continue to provide leadership in the field. Our Sustainability Aims, which relate to energy, water and waste encourage the industry to minimise its carbon footprint and also incorporate ethics including on sourcing.
The maintenance of the highest standards is fundamental to everything we do. Our members already have many systems in place for food safety, sustainability (including e.g. sustainable palm oil), quality, CSR, and will add any further deforestation requirements to their audit portfolios. We fully support an effective ‘due diligence’ system that is fit for purpose, which is sector-based, is underpinned by effective legislation, can be policed, and also provides a level playing field by applying to all sizes of businesses.