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21st March 2016, 3:00pm
University joins landmark commitment to transform UK food and drink
University joins landmark commitment to transform UK food and drink The University of Lincoln, UK, has joined a landmark commitment which brings together organisations from across the food system for the first time to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable for the future.

The Courtauld Commitment 2025 is led by the UK’s resource efficiency charity WRAP, on behalf of the UK Government and Devolved Administrations. Launched in March 2016, it is a world–leading voluntary agreement to work along the entire food chain to reduce the environmental impact of our food and drink, from farm to fork and beyond.

The University of Lincoln was announced as a signatory of the agreement, alongside the world’s largest food and drink manufacturers and all the major UK retailers, representing over 93% of the 2016 UK food retail market, as well as food service companies, trade bodies and local authorities.

The Commitment sets out three key targets: a 20% reduction in food and drink waste arising in the UK, a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas intensity of food & drink consumed in the UK, and a reduction in impact associated with water use in the supply chain.

Supported by more than 100 leading organisations including Coca Cola Enterprises, Nestle UK and Ireland, Unilever, Tesco, M&S, Sainsbury’s, Birds Eye UK, the British Retail Consortium and the Food Standards Agency, the Commitment aims to reach its targets by 2025. The University of Lincoln has joined forces with WRAP and its signatories to try to reduce the resource intensity of the UK’s food and drink by one-fifth over the next 10 years, saving £20 billion.

The University will support these efforts through its pioneering research into new food manufacturing technologies, including the work at its National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM) at Holbeach.

The Lincoln Institute for Agri-food Technology (LIAT) was launched last year specifically to support and enhance productivity in the agri-food sectors. The Institute brings together the University of Lincoln’s growing research and educational activity in the agri-tech and food sectors, including food manufacturing, agri-robotics, agronomy and animal science. It focuses on the development of technologies to improve efficiency, sustainability, and reduce waste throughout the food pipeline, from farm to retailer.

Mark Swainson, Lead for Higher Education and Research at the University of Lincoln’s NCFM, said:  “We are very pleased to support this major collaborative initiative to reduce the amount of resources required to provide food and drink over the coming years.  Our research and education programmes are well placed to support the food manufacturing sector in its development of wide ranging-initiatives, including focus on processing activities, transport and distribution, storage systems and associated supply chains.”

Signatories will work together with WRAP to identify new actions and opportunities to save resources and to make the whole system more sustainable and resilient to supply chain disruptions. Signatories also commit to implementing changes, measuring the benefits, and helping other businesses and people to realise savings.

Dr Richard Swannell, Director of Sustainable Food Systems at WRAP, said: “The pressures of resource scarcity, population growth and our changing climate will have profound effects on our food supply in the coming years, and business efficiency. To safeguard UK food we need a step-change to increase sustainable food and drink production and consumption, conserve resources and combat climate change. Courtauld 2025 will do this.

“Collaboration has never been more important, which is why I want to thank the businesses and organisations that have committed to taking action. This is an ambitious undertaking and having key signatories on board on day one puts us in a strong position at the start of this new era for our food industry.”

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