Scotland’s £12.4bn food and drink industry urged to combine sustainability with economic growth
A set of green “ambitions” designed to make Scotland’s food and drink industry more sustainable has been put before the sector. Scotland Food & Drink, the industry umbrella group backed by the Scottish Government, is calling on the retail sector to join the mission to reduce waste and greenhouse emissions.
Over 100 industry players – including Sodexo, Asda, Marks & Spencer and others – gathered in Edinburgh Castle last month to launch Scotland’s food and drink industry environmental sustainability strategy. The event followed the Scottish Food and Drink Sustainability Conference hosted by Zero Waste Scotland.
The Scottish Government has identified the food and drink industry for sustainable economic growth. It’s currently worth £12.4bn and is certain to exceed Scotland Food & Drink’s target of growing the market to £12.5bn by 2017. Exports have grown by more than 50% in the last five years.
Scotland’s food and drink industry environmental sustainability strategy aims to make sure the growth doesn’t come at the expense of the environment. It has five main themes: the efficient use of resources; reducing greenhouse gas emissions; waste (including recycling and sending less to landfill); reducing the impact of transport; and making businesses more resilient to climate change.
Iain Gulland, director of Zero Waste Scotland said: “The Scottish food and drink industry has made significant progress in becoming more sustainable.
“With the introduction of new Waste (Scotland) Regulations next year, there’s never been a more important time to consider waste. It is not a problem to be dealt with but a valuable resource which could reduce bottom line costs and help meet customers’ expectations around sustainability.”
Scotland’s cabinet secretary for rural affairs, Richard Lochhead added: “Scotland’s food and drink industry makes a huge contribution to our economy. Working together at all stages of the supply chain is one of the ways businesses can achieve results and benefit.”