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Aptean’s Food and Beverage 2021 Global Symposium – Making a More Sustainable Future Our New Reality Session Recap

Aptean’s Food and Beverage 2021 Global Symposium – Making a More Sustainable Future Our New Reality Session Recap


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Aptean’s Food and Beverage 2021 Global Symposium – Making a More Sustainable Future Our New Reality Session Recap

27 Oct 2021

John McCurdy
Red bell peppers growing in a greenhouse.

Up next in our series of blog posts recapping the sessions of Aptean’s Food and Beverage 2021 Global Symposium is “Making a More Sustainable Future Our New Reality,” a breakout session presented by Emma Mansbridge of the Food & Drink Federation (FDF).

As the senior sustainability and environmental policy executive at FDF, Emma Mansbridge knows the challenges organizations are facing as the push for more sustainable sourcing and operations continues. And as the convener, advisor and voice of the UK food and beverage industry, FDF represents more than 800 businesses.

The complicating factors of climate change, Brexit and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are some of the largest hurdles that UK companies must confront in their efforts to create a more responsible and environmentally friendly food and beverage landscape. FDF has taken the lead with their Ambition 2025 initiative, which is based on the pillars of resource efficiency and green growth and aims to shape sustainable value chains that are both more productive and good for the Earth and its people.

FDF members are already delivering results on these fronts, as they reduced their collective CO2 emissions from energy use in manufacturing by 55.5% in 2018, cut absolute water consumption by 41.5% in the same year and saved 180,000 tons of food from becoming waste in 2019 compared to the previous year. Their mid-term review for Ambition 2025 gave the Federation a chance to account for new policy developments and identify other related initiatives around the world.

Mansbridge identified three major challenges that food and beverage businesses will need to consider over the next few decades:

  • Achieving net zero emissions and decarbonization: The UK was among the first countries in the world to pass a law on reach net zero carbon emissions, setting the government’s target for 2050. At the same time, other organizations like the British Retail Consortium and National Farmers Union have set goals to reach that benchmark by 2040, and FDF has chosen that date as their target as well as part of their Net Zero Narrative Project. They now plan to develop and publish a Net Zero Roadmap for UK food and drink businesses that includes an executive summary report and handbook.

  • Reducing plastic usage and packaging: The UK government’s 25-year environment plan, released in 2018, set a goal of zero avoidable plastic waste by 2042. Packaging reform proposals, including a plastic packaging tax and deposit return scheme are expected to be a part of the Environment Bill currently moving through Parliament. The FDF has shown their commitment to this measure as a founding signatory of the UK Plastics Pact, which established an ambitious set of targets for 2025 including an average of 30% recycled content across all plastic packaging.

  • Sustainable supply chains: The FDF has created their own Sustainability Resource Hub as an online platform with educational material and initiatives that member businesses can undertake to improve their own sustainability outcomes. The Federation has also supported the UK government’s consultation on due diligence for forest risk commodities but has noted a need to account for the complexities of the industry, set transparent reporting standards and maintain transparency.

FDF member companies like PepsiCo, Suntory and Ferrerro have all launched their own initiatives aimed at making headway on one or more of the goals that have been announced. Now, with the UN Climate Change Conference to be held in the UK in November of this year, FDF stands at the forefront of the sustainability movement in the food and beverage industry.

If you want to position your food and beverage business to be part of this push for progress, it’s important to set your digital foundation with an industry-specific food and beverage solution like Aptean Food & Beverage ERP. Contact us today to find out more about our purpose-built systems and what they can do for your organization.

Be sure to check back for more of our session recaps, and browse our Insights page for those we’ve published previously. And if you’d like to view any of our sessions on-demand, you can do so here.

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Sandwich stacked with toppings.