In most cases, corporations won’t do what’s right unless it’s the law. When we change the laws to mandate that they become cleaner, safer, and more efficient, however, it’s surprising what a difference these big companies can make. In very rare instances, corporations agree to do what’s good for us and the planet without being forced, and that’s when they become real agents of positive change.
The British versions of some of the world’s biggest food companies, along with 65 UK hotels, restaurants, contract caterers and government departments, have all voluntarily agree to cut food and associated packaging waste by five percent by 2015.
The Hospitality and Food Service Agreement will use 2012 waste and C02 emissions levels as a baseline, and if successful, could result in a CO2 reduction of 234,000 tonnes and save the equivalent of about 100 million meals from the landfill. Domino’s Pizza, McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd, Greene King, Greggs and Unilever Food Solutions are among the major brands that have already signed up.
“Reducing our impact on the environment is the right thing to do – but reducing waste also makes good business sense,” said Brigid Simmonds OBE, Chief Executive British Beer & Pub Association. ”While the brewing and pub industry has a good track record going back over 30 years, we can always do more. We are pleased to be part of the Voluntary Agreement and look forward to working with WRAP in helping the industry to make further progress towards the targets.”
The voluntary agreement also targets an increase in the overall rate of food and packaging waste being recycled, sent to anaerobic digestion or composted, to at least 70 percent by the end of 2015.
If just 25 percent of the food sector committed to meeting the targets in the agreement, they could could save up to £76 million ($118 million) and reduce their CO2 emissions impact by 570,000 tons by the end of 2015, according to WRAP the research organization that helped develop the voluntary program.
Research by WRAP also indicates that if avoidable food waste was prevented and unavoidable food waste diverted to anaerobic digestion, the potential savings to industry would be more than £720 million (over $1.1 billion) a year.
Image via Thinkstock
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