Carbon Management Best Practice in Food and Drink Manufacturing
Guidance prepared as part of FDF's Five-fold Environmental Ambition.
Carbon management guide - introduction
This short guide is designed to help food and drink manufacturers understand
the importance of Carbon Management and to provide practical advice on ways
of reducing CO2 emissions. From our sector's perspective, these primarily arise
from the burning of fossil fuels, upon which we depend for generating energy
The guide has been commissioned by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) in the
context of our Five-fold
Environmental Ambition launched in October 2007 to make a real difference to
One element of our ambition is to show leadership nationally and
by achieving a 35% absolute
reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020 compared to 1990 and aspiring to a 30%
reduction by 2020.
- FDF's acknowledgement that climate change is arguably the biggest single
challenge facing mankind and the planet
- that the main cause of climate change is the release of greenhouse gases, such
as CO2, into the atmosphere
- that the food chain represents a significant proportion of the UK's emissions of
We hope that by explaining where CO2 emissions occur in the sector and providing
“top tips” for reducing them,
we will help food and drink manufacturers to play their full part in tackling
climate change. The planet and future
generations depend upon it.
FDF's Five-Fold Environmental Ambition
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) committed, on behalf of its members, to
making a significant contribution to improving the environment by targeting
priorities where they can make the biggest difference. Working collectively,
'Five-fold Environmental Ambition' is to:
- Achieve a 35% absolute reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020 compared to 1990.
- Seek to send zero food and packaging waste to landfill at the latest by 2015 and
make a significant contribution to WRAP's Courtauld Commitment 2 target to
reduce product and packaging waste in the supply chain by 5% by end of 2012
- Make a significant contribution to WRAP's work to reducing the carbon impact of
packaging by 10% by 2012 against a 2009 baseline.
- Achieve significant reductions in water use to help reduce stress on the
nation's water supplies and contribute to an industry-wide absolute target to
water use by 20% by 2020 compared to 2007.
- Embed environmental standards in their transport practices, including contracts
with hauliers as they fall for renewal, to achieve fewer and friendlier food
transport miles and make a contribution to IGD's Efficient Consumer Response UK
Sustainable Distribution Initiative to save 80 million HGV miles over the
2010-12 in the grocery sector.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions from
Food & Drink Manufacturing
Energy Related Emissions
The main sources of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions from food and drink
manufacturing sites relates to the use
- The burning of fossil fuels such as oil and gas lead to “direct” CO2 emissions
at the factory. The key uses of fossil
fuel are for steam boilers and other heating systems such as ovens and driers.
- The use of grid electricity leads to “indirect” CO2 emissions at the power
station producing the electricity. The key
uses of electricity include refrigeration, compressed air, pumps, fans and
processing / packaging equipment.
- All transport of raw materials, finished goods and your staff also gives rise to
emissions from vehicles.
For all the food and drink factories in the FDF Climate Change Agreement, the
overall split of emissions between fossil fuels and grid electricity is
approximately equal. However, different sub-sectors of the industry have very
emissions profiles. Some processes, such as food canning and baking are very
intensive, whereas others like frozen foods and flour milling use much more
Greenhouse Gas Emissions from
the Food Chain
Food and Drink Manufacturing: The largest emissions of GHGs related to food production and consumption do not
come from food manufacturing plants, which only represent about 10% of
from the food chain.
Agriculture: About 50% of GHG emissions come from agriculture. Most of this is not energy
related. Key emissions
include methane from livestock and N2O which is emitted from fertilisers in the
soil. The animal feed and fertiliser also
factories that supply the agricultural sector are also big energy users.
Retail: The retail and catering sectors are also significant representing about 15% of
emissions. Most of these
emissions relate to energy use, including a significant refrigeration
requirement. Refrigeration systems using HFC
refrigerants often have a large GHG emission because of refrigerant leakage.
Domestic: Storage and cooking of food in domestic dwellings is also significant,
representing about 15% of
Transport: The energy use in transport between different stages of the food chain
represents a further 10% of emissions. There is increasing concern about 'food
especially if these involve food transported by air.
However, long distance transport is not necessarily bad in terms of CO2
emissions – for example the extra transport energy importing vegetables from
might be less than the glass house heating required to grow the same crop
in the UK.
Waste: Any waste food put into land fill will create emissions of methane. This can
represent a significant proportion
of food chain emissions. It has been estimated that between 20% and 30% of food
sold in the UK is wasted.
Many food companies are measuring their carbon footprints and publishing
information about carbon emissions,
for example in Annual Reports. There are a number of different types of carbon
footprint, based on the “system
boundary” included in the footprint. For example:
Corporate footprint: a. The carbon footprint of a food manufacturing company might represent the
emissions from the companies operations including energy use, transport, waste,
refrigerant leakage etc.
Product footprint: b. This includes all the food chain emissions of a particular product including
retail as well as manufacturing. Product footprints can also include the
View the full report from which the information in this section is taken FDF's Carbon Management Best Practice In Food and Manufacturing - pdf | 228kb
Last reviewed: 15 Aug 2011