Courtauld 3 keeps focus on supply chain waste

After several months of heated discussions between WRAP, retailers and suppliers, the third phase of the voluntary waste reduction agreement for the grocery sector, the Courtauld Commitment, is set to be launched three months after Courtauld 2 concluded.

The Courtauld Commitment is a voluntary responsibility deal between the Waste & Resources Action Progamme (WRAP) and retailers and brands aimed at improving resource efficiency and reducing the carbon and wider environmental impact of the UK grocery sector.

Resealable salad bags introduced by Asda under Courtauld to help householders waste less food
Resealable salad bags introduced by Asda under Courtauld to help householders waste less food

In a similar fashion to Courtauld 2, Courtauld 3 is set to include targets governing food waste, grocery supply chain waste and packaging. The targets will run from 2013-15.

Food waste is expected to feature prominently in the new agreement, with a target to reduce household food and drink waste by 5% by 2015, while a target of reducing grocery supply chain waste by 3% is also anticipated. The recyclability of packaging is also set to be targeted for the first time.

However, the Commitment is not as ambitious as had originally been hoped, and is expected to fall short of looking at the entire life cycle of products and their carbon impact amid concerns by the major retailers over the costs of measuring performance in this area.


The Courtauld Commitment is supported by all four UK governments and is run by waste prevention delivery body WRAP. Phase two of the voluntary agreement, which began in 2010, built on the success of the first phase of the Courtauld Commitment and concluded in December 2012. Signatories to the commitment include retailers such as Asda and Sainsburys and brands such as Kraft Foods, Nestle and Weetabix.

WRAP has been working with these signatories and trade bodies on the third phase of the commitment and said earlier this year that it would be launching Courtauld 3 this spring (see story).

At the time, the organisation said the agreement would tackle areas with significant environmental impact. It will focus on dealing with the pressing environmental issues industry is facing now, while positioning for the future.

However, WRAP declined to reveal details of the targets themselves.


The British Retail Consortium has previously said that it expects Courtauld 3 to build on the successes of the Courtauld Commitment phase 2 agreement which ended in December 2012 and the final results will be reported in autumn 2013.

Commenting in its Better Retailing Climate progress report, the BRC said that the outcome of Courtauld 3 will aim to build on the significant progress delivered so far.

Measures backed by retailers which are likely to be included in Courtauld 3 range from action on Palm Oil through to work on collaborative programmes such as the Product Sustainability Forum and the Sustainability Clothing Action Plan.

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