Leading hospitality and food service companies sign up to waste agreement

WRAP today announces that 69 leading UK hotels, pubs, restaurants, quick service restaurants (QSRs), contract caterers, industry bodies and government departments have signed up to the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement.

The sector wide UK voluntary agreement is launched today by WRAP, on behalf of UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland governments. The agreement aims to cut food and associated packaging waste by 5% (a CO2e reduction of 234,000 tonnes), the equivalent of approximately 100 million meals. It also aims to increase the overall rate of food and packaging waste that is being recycled, sent to AD or composted to 70% (a CO2e reduction of 336,000 tonnes).

Signatories can together expect to achieve great cost savings. Indeed, if just 25% of the sector were to sign up, they can save up to £761 million by the end of 20152, and reduce their CO2 (e) impact by 570,000 tonnes.

The voluntary agreement, which was developed with industry and UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland governments, builds on WRAP’s research, and work already being undertaken by the sector to tackle waste. It also delivers on all four governments’ commitment to tackle waste and carbon.

Government support from the UK nations for the voluntary agreement has also been wide scale with fourteen UK government departments, Scottish, and Welsh governments all signing up to the agreement to encourage their own caterers to cut waste.

Organisations that opt to sign up to the agreement either join as signatories or supporters, depending on their role within the sector, with signatories reporting directly against the two main targets. Of the 69 organisations signed up to the agreement, 28 are signatories and 41 are supporters.

The voluntary agreement has grouped business signatories into ‘Large businesses’, ‘Smaller businesses’. In general a business signatory is an organisation who produces and serves their customer a meal/snack. A supporter is an organisation who works within the sector but is not delivering that meal/snack directly to a customer. For example a business which has catering which is contracted out, packaging manufacturers, food and drink manufacturers, and trade associations.

WRAP will work across the sector and accelerate the good practice that is already going on through collaborative working and behaviour change. WRAP will provide businesses with support to equip them to make these changes happen through online tools, workshops, working groups and expert advice.

The agreement will be overseen by a Steering Group, which will include signatories and supporters. The group will have responsibility for providing input to voluntary agreement strategy, reviewing progress on delivery against the targets, and sharing good practice.

Dr Liz Goodwin, CEO, WRAP, said: “Tackling food waste brings significant financial and environmental benefits, as already demonstrated through our work on household food waste and within the Courtauld Commitment. I am therefore delighted that so many organisations have signed up already to the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement, and we continue to urge businesses, large and small, to sign up.”

Lord Taylor, Defra Minister for Environment, said:
“This new agreement shows these household names are committed to stopping this terrible waste of food. By taking additional steps to reduce the amount of food waste these businesses and organisations will stop the equivalent of 100 million wasted meals going to the bin and save themselves money – a win-win for everyone.”

Richard Lochhead, Scotland’s Environment Secretary, said:
“We have made huge strides to tackle household food and packaging waste in Scotland. We are now looking at ways to reduce waste that is created away from home, in restaurants, fast food chains and the catering industry. Of course, businesses will need help to do this and the Scottish Government is committed to providing that through our Zero Waste Scotland programme.

“I am delighted that some of Scotland’s world-leading hotels have come on board with this initiative from day one and I hope many more follow their example. It not only gives them a chance to demonstrate their values, it can also help these businesses save money and therefore become more sustainable.”

John Griffiths, the Welsh Government’s Environment Minister, said:
“The Welsh hospitality and food service industry has already done a lot to reduce its waste and recycle more, and I want to acknowledge its good work. This UK-wide agreement will help more businesses prevent waste, manage unavoidable waste sustainably and save money, in line with the ambitions set out in our Towards Zero Waste strategy and draft Food Manufacture, Service and Retail sector plan.

“Hospitality, tourism and food service businesses play an important role in our economy, which is why WRAP Cymru and the Welsh Government are working closely with Welsh industry bodies and with businesses, to ensure that the Agreement meets their needs. I would like to wish the Agreement every success and urge businesses across Wales to follow the example of Castell Howell, SA Brain Ltd and the Millennium Stadium in becoming signatories.”

Alex Attwood, Northern Ireland Environment Minister, said:
“Waste from the food industry, both the food itself and the associated packaging, has traditionally been a significant contributor to landfill. WRAP’s hospitality and Food Service Agreement is a great way to reduce this waste, therefore reducing landfill contributions. This will be a more efficient use of resources which ultimately saves the signatories money. This is very timely given a challenging recycling target which I recently set to increase recycling rates to 60%. My Department and I aim to make Northern Ireland a better place to live, work and invest – I am confident that this agreement will help meet this objective.”

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive, British Hospitality Association
“The BHA is committed to working in partnership with government supporting its aim to reduce waste from food and associated packaging on a voluntary basis in hospitality and foodservice businesses.

“The hospitality industry and its supply chain has already made significant progress in improving its environmental performance and we are pleased to be working with DEFRA, the Devolved Administrations and WRAP (WRAP Cymru & Zero Waste Scotland) on this long-term journey to increase waste prevention and recycling rates, helping to save 570,000 tonnes of CO2e over the life of the agreement.”

Brigid Simmonds OBE, Chief Executive British Beer & Pub Association, said:
“Reducing our impact on the environment is the right thing to do – but reducing waste also makes good business sense. 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.”

Mark Linehan, managing director of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, said:
“This agreement is a great step forward in the battle to reduce food waste in the hospitality sector – a sector that is beginning to meet this considerable challenge. We would urge all operators to embrace this opportunity to reduce their environmental impact, save money and respond to public demand. The SRA particularly welcomes the emphasis on waste prevention. Producing less waste saves operators money and time spent managing the waste.”

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