Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Policy Position

FDF's Ambition to Cut CO2 Emissions

FDF members are committed to an industry-wide1 absolute target to reduce CO2 emissions2 by 35% by 2020 against a 1990 baseline3.

Delivering Our Ambition

In 2012 FDF members achieved a reduction in CO2 emissions from their manufacturing operations of 32% compared to the 1990 baseline. This builds on the previous year's achievement of a 27% reduction. This latest result keeps us firmly on track towards meeting our 2020 ambition of a 35% reduction.

Since the 2008 launch of the FDF Five-fold Ambition, absolute emissions have fallen by 527,000 tonnes of CO2 - equivalent to the emissions arising from around 165,000 average homes in the UK. The main focus of activity in 2012 has been the setting up of the new Climate Change Agreement (CCA). Participants in the FDF CCA are now working towards a new challenging target of an 18% improvement in energy efficiency by 2020 against a 2008 baseline. If achieved, this improvement in energy efficiency will make a significant contribution towards the wider Five-fold 2020 CO2 emissions reduction target.

In March 2013 the Department of Energy and Climate Change published its strategy on the Future of Heating. As part of this programme, FDF will be working closely with DECC on the development of 2050 low carbon roadmap for the UK food and drink manufacturing sector. FDF very much welcomes this initiative which will form the framework for setting emissions reductions goals beyond our current time horizon of 2020



Climate change is arguably the biggest single challenge facing mankind and the planet. Experts advise that the Earth is locked into a pattern of rising temperature and sea levels that is almost certainly the result of human activities4. The main cause is the release of greenhouse gases, such as CO2, into the atmosphere. The climatic effect is proving extreme and unpredictable.

Tackling climate change requires everyone to play their full part – the public sector, energy suppliers, industry and private individuals alike. The UK food and drink manufacturing sector has made a very good start. It has reduced its CO2 emissions significantly since 1990. However, given the scale of the challenge, no sector can afford to be complacent. We must all do more.

Footnote 1: Proposed in the Food Industry Sustainability Strategy published by Defra in 2006.
Footnote 2: Refers to CO2 arising from the use of energy (from fossil fuels, gas and electricity) at food and drink manufacturing installations.
Footnote 3: Based upon a combination Dukes data published by DTI and, from 2001, data gathered under FDF's Climate Change Agreement.
Footnote 4: Source: UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


More Information

Last reviewed: 22 May 2014