Ambitious net-zero emissions target on the menu for Food and Drink sector

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF), which represents more than 300 companies, would like the energy-intensive sector to reach net-zero emissions by 2040.

To help them shave 10 years off the national target, the FDF is in discussions with stakeholders and members across the entire food and drink supply chain in order to identify the steps needed to be taken.

There will be a focus on the type of ingredients, packaging, types of distribution and storage as well as customer behaviour with a net-zero guide made available to businesses in November.

Championing net-zero

The FDF’s head of climate change and energy policy, Emma Piercy, said: “We are delighted to announce the FDF’s Net-Zero by 2040 ambition. Leading the sectors’ progress in decarbonisation requires essential collaboration across the supply chain, and together we are driving the delivery of Net Zero food and drink products on supermarket shelves by 2040.

“In food and drink manufacturing, the programme of support provided by Government and industry associations are key drivers to building momentum on Net-Zero. We thank Andrew Griffith MP in his role as Net Zero Business Champion on driving this forward and his work on the SME Climate Hub.”

The overwhelming majority of the sector’s carbon emissions are currently attributable to national gas (97 per cent), with the remainder down to electricity.

Of the natural gas sourced by the sector in the eight-year period between 2012 and 2020, 80 per cent was used in boilers and direct-fired ovens.

Strong progress

The net-zero ambition comes on the back of strong progress in the sector to date. Carbon emissions have already been cut by 55 per cent since 1990, surpassing a target set for 2025.

The Government’s Net Zero Business Champion, Andrew Griffith MP, said: “I welcome the ambitious steps being taken by the Food and Drink Federation in launching their 2021 work programme on Net Zero and the commitment to being net-zero by 2040. This pioneering target in such an important sector of the economy will strengthen the UK’s position as a global climate leader in this year of COP26.”