The London event, hosted by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and London Technology Network, brought together around 200 representatives from food and drink companies, academia and expert environmental organisations including the Carbon Trust. Food manufacturers large and small have become increasingly dedicated to cutting their carbon footprint as public awareness on climate change grows and environmental factors contribute more and more to consumer choices. United Biscuits, Tate & Lyle and Cadbury Schweppes have all recently demonstrated significant and innovative ways to make their food production greener, and were therefore present to act as case studies. "By hosting events such as this where companies can share knowledge and experience in areas such as energy efficiency, transport and waste reduction we hope to stimulate uptake of best practice throughout the food chain," said Callton Young, FDF director of sustainability."We want companies to be inspired and take back to their places of work, ideas for making a real difference to the environment whether for direct application or future development." United Biscuits' green efforts Earlier this year, United Biscuits announced a plan to reduce its impact on the environment and improve sustainability. The changes it has implemented include testing and developing new oven burners at its Harlesden biscuit factory to reduce the amount of energy used and to then apply these to five other factories over the next three years. Additionally, it hopes to cut waste generated during food production, cut its use of landfill, cut water use and to achieve a 22 per cent reduction in transport CO2 emissions. Lastly, it is a member of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, which is aimed at the responsible production of palm oil. Commenting on United Biscuits' plan, Young said: "Consumers expect businesses to be good corporate citizens, including in their environmental performance. UB's environmental policy fully embraces this. Indeed, the package is exemplary in so many ways. It covers the key environmental priorities faced by the UK food and drink industry and includes milestones for making real and measurable progress." Tate & Lyle and Cadbury Tate & Lyle's carbon cutting methods include a biomass boiler introduced last year in its East London refinery, which aimed to slash carbon emissions from energy use by 25 per cent in less than two years. It was considered a first for the UK food and drink industry and the company invested £20m (€28m) in the new equipment to allow it to switch to renewable bimonass to supply 70 per cent of the energy needs in its London refinery. The planned feedstock used is wheat-husk, but the boiler is versatile and can use other renewable by-products. Cadbury Schweppes has recently signed a Climate Change Statement, which was launched at the Global Compact Leaders Summit in Geneva, commiting it to taking practical actions now to increase the efficiency of energy usage and to reduce the carbon burden of our products, services and processes. Its current carbon emissions are in the range of 1.2M-1.5M tonnes of CO2 per year, but it aims to reduce this footprint by 50 per cent. FDF environment plan The London industry event was meant to progress work in implementing the FDF's Five-Fold Environmental Ambition. In this, the body hopes to:
Achieve a 20 per cent absolute reduction in CO2 emissions by 2010 compared to 1990 and to show leadership nationally and internationally by aspiring to a 30 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020
Send zero food and packaging waste to landfill from 2015
Help achieve an absolute reduction in the level of packaging reaching households by 2010 and provide more advice to consumers on how best to recycle
Achieve significant reductions in water use and contribute to an industry-wide absolute target to reduce water use by 20 per cent by 2020 compared to 2007
Embed environmental standards in transport practices.