12 November 2020 by Steve Eminton

Tackling food waste is ‘top priority’, says WRAP

Tackling food waste is WRAP’s top priority, the charity has declared in it its latest annual report and accounts published on 5 November.

The charity said that “the global food system is unsustainable” adding that it represents around 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

And WRAP reports that in 2018, UK households wasted 6.6 million tonnes of food, of which 4.5 million tonnes was edible. But it warned that while household food waste is key to reaching its targets, “it is the stage of the food chain which is hardest to influence as it demands citizen behaviour change at scale.”

Food waste is a top priority for WRAP, picture: shredded food waste (source: WRAP)

However, looking at its own operations, the annual report (which covers the financial year 2019/2020) reported positively, in that “Our continued drive to avoid having any edible food waste resulted in no edible food being wasted in any of our offices.”

Income

In their foreword to the report, Julie Hill, chair and Marcus Gover, chief executive, say that one of WRAP’s greatest challenges is to diversify its income “and reduce our dependence on funding from UK government. Securing funding from trusts and foundations will be a key focus of 2020/21.”

The effort to get money from trusts and foundations comes as the charity’s income almost doubled  from £20.4 million in 2018/19 to £40.6 million in 2019/2020. The big jump came in income from UK governments which reached £35.9 million although £19.6 million was a restricted grant so that underlying income was up £0.6 million.

Finance directors

Paul Suller joined WRAP as finance director in February

In terms of financial management, the charity has had a number of changes. The charity lists a new finance director, Paul Suller who joined WRAP in February 2020. Mr Suller is WRAP’s fourth finance director in as many years. Jonathan Lea left in 2017 and was succeed by Gareth Prior who left after 16 months. There was then a gap and a new finance director Phillipa Foster joined in February 2019 but she left after a year and is succeeded by Mr Suller.

While WRAP is committed to diversity, the departure of Phillipa Foster as finance director means that its executive committee is even more male-dominated, consisting of five men and one woman, HR director Angela Pulley.

Internal control

Also on finance, WRAP notes in its report that it has reviewed the effectiveness of the company’s systems of internal control for the financial year and says it is committed to the development and enhancement of internal control and risk management. To strengthen the Board of Trustee’s confidence, internal auditors Haysmacintyre were appointed in March 2020 to provide “external insights and best practice”.

Local authorities

The report also comments on resource management and local authorities.

WRAP says that it will “encourage more of England’s local authorities to use our evidence-based social norming messages in communications, continue delivering service changes in Wales and provide support to councils in Northern Ireland. Citizen behaviour change campaigns will also remain a focus.”

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the charity is to increase engagement with local authorities. “Our support will be to develop and deliver COVID-19 focused messaging for recycling, clothing donations and food waste prevention to UK citizens which can be used directly by partners across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

Retailers are among those in the Plastics Pact

Plastics

On plastic packaging, the UK Plastics Pact will continue to be central to WRAP’s plastics work, the report states.

WRAP notes: “We will build on the successful launch of ‘Clear on Plastics’ and develop new behaviour change interventions. We intend to secure new funding from trusts and foundations for this citizen-facing work. We will continue to roll-out Plastics Pacts in other countries and support those already in place. We believe there are opportunities for networks of Plastics Pacts and will explore this during 2020/21.”

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