Scottish food sector unveils sustainability strategy
11 February 2013
The first sustainability strategy of its kind for the Scottish food and drink industry has been launched in Edinburgh, with a focus on areas such as resource efficiency and recycling.
The strategy, entitled the ‘Environmental Ambition’ for the Scottish food and drink industry, was unveiled by trade body Scotland Food & Drink, at the Great Hall at Edinburgh Castle last week (February 6). The event was attended by over 100 delegates representing Scottish food and drink businesses, Scotland Food & Drink and 19 industry partners of the organisation. It followed the Scottish Food and Drink Sustainability Conference hosted with Zero Waste Scotland.
The strategy highlights the importance of sustainability to the Scottish food and drink industry. It aims to drive the industry to become environmentally and economically sustainable while promoting the sharing of best practice and collaborative working.
It focuses on five core themes which concern the efficient use of resources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, waste (including recycling and sending less to landfill), reducing the impact of transport and making businesses more resilient to climate change. A set of commitments have been set in order to benchmark progress against the sustainability ambition each year.
The Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland welcomed the strategy and the work Scotland Food & Drink and partners will be doing to proactively encourage the industry to realise the benefits of sustainability in their businesses.
James Withers Scotland Food & Drink chief executive said: "A commitment to sustainability is the mark of a progressive industry and this is the first collaborative strategy with the input of all food and drink sectors. Being sustainable means two things for the industry: a significant and growing contribution to the Scottish economy and responsible stewardship of our environment to the benefit of our reputation and growth."
Welcoming the launch, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead said: “Scotland’s Food and Drink Industry makes a huge contribution to our society and our economy - through its enterprise, innovation and reputation at home and abroad.
“The Scottish Government is passionate about maximising the high-quality food Scotland produces while ensuring that its production is sustainable and not wasteful. In a future of global uncertainty around water supply and food security, Scotland is blessed which comparatively rich resources. However, the need to manage these carefully and protect them has never been more clear.
“Scotland Food & Drink’s collaboration with Zero Waste Scotland and many others across industry and the public sector is increasingly important as we seek to grow our economy while protecting our environment.”
Zero Waste Scotland is supporting a UK-wide responsibility deal, the Courtauld Commitment, which is aimed at reducing the environmental impact of the grocery retail sector and encourages a joined-up approach. The conference delegates heard about the second phase of the Commitment, which began in 2010 and has already delivered a number of successes for individual businesses, their customers and wider society.
Iain Gulland, director of Zero Waste Scotland said: “The Scottish food and drink industry has made significant progress in becoming more sustainable through collaborative approaches such as this one and I welcome the new strategy to further the ambition of the sector in what it can do to value resources and make the best use of them.
“With the introduction of new Waste (Scotland) Regulations next year, and the third stage of the Courtauld Commitment set to launch this spring, there’s never been a more important time to consider the way the industry views waste – seeing it not as a problem to be dealt with, but as a valuable resource which could reduce bottom line costs and help meet customers’ expectations around sustainability.
“It’s essential to provide opportunities to share best practice and work together to reduce waste at all stages of the supply chain. In providing the industry with access to funding and help, advice and training Zero Waste Scotland can do this and we are keen to ensure that any firm in the sector can benefit from our support.”
Partners shaping the strategy are Dairy UK, HIE, Improve, NFUS, QMS, SWA, SRUC, SAOS, Scottish Bakers, SDI, SE, SFDF, SSPO, Lantra, Seafish, AHDB, Seafood Scotland, The Rowett Institute of Health & Nutrition, SDS and Zero Waste Scotland.