News article

15 July 2008

Food Industry Pledges Fewer and Friendlier Food Miles

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Some 40 food and drink companies have today pledged to make fewer and friendlier food transport miles, signing up to the Food and Drink Federation's (FDF) Environmental Checklist and Clause for Greener Food Transport [1].This is the latest step by the food and drink manufacturing industry towards making a real difference to the environment as set out in FDF's Five-fold Environmental Ambition [2].

The signatories, including some of the biggest household brands in the world [3],have committed to using the ten point checklist. This embeds environmental standards right into the heart of companies' transport practices and includes contracts with third party hauliers to achieve fewer and friendlier food miles. The Checklist dovetails with the work being done by IGD on transport collaboration.

By achieving fewer and friendlier food transport miles, companies will be making a real contribution to a food chain target to reduce environmental and social impacts of domestic food transport by 20% by 2012 compared to 2002 [4].

Iain Ferguson, FDF President said:
"Transporting food and drink, like all other goods, has environmental and social impacts. Today FDF members are making a significant commitment to reducing these impacts, and are once again showing leadership on an important environmental agenda. The companies who have signed up to the Checklist and Clause today are the first of what we hope will be many more signatories to this commitment to achieving fewer and friendlier food transport miles."

Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Minister for Transport said:
"Protecting the environment and developing sustainable transport systems, especially where distribution is concerned, are very topical issues and especially important for us at the Department for Transport. I was therefore pleased to read about the Federation's Five-fold Environmental Ambition. In particular I welcome its goal for fewer and friendlier food transport miles which shows commitment to a transport policy that delivers economic growth and lower carbon emissions."

Lord Rooker, Minister of State for Sustainable Food, Farming and Animal Health said:
"I welcome the industry's new initiative to reduce its environmental impact through the publication of its ten point Checklist and Clause for Greener Food Transport. The food industry makes an important contribution to the success of the UK economy and it is good to see it also showing leadership in the delivery of a more sustainable future."

Using best practice, as encouraged by the FDF Checklist and Clause, can help companies achieve a great deal for the environment. For example United Biscuits is avoiding 2.7m road miles per year compared to 2005 by improving the design of its transport network, vehicle use, driver training and by using satellite tracking. The company will cumulatively save about 4,700 tonnes of CO2 up to the end of 2008. Similarly Tate & Lyle expects to avoid 2.1m road miles per year by the end of 2008 by shifting its bulk sugar distribution between its refinery in Silvertown East London and Glasgow from road to rail freight [5].

More Information

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Notes for Editors

  1. The ten point checklist covers:
    I. maximising vehicle loading
    II. the ratio of trailers to trucks
    III. vehicle emissions standards
    IV. use of vehicle tracking technology
    V. reducing empty running
    VI. avoiding difficult routes
    VII. use of rail and shipping
    VIII. participation in industry best practice fora
    IX. driver training
    X. vehicle maintenance.
  2. FDF's Five-fold Environmental Ambitionsets out the five areas where food and drink companies feel they can make a real difference to the environment. Launched in October 07, the goal is for FDF members to reduce their environmental impact in the key areas of carbon dioxide emissions, water, food waste, packaging, and food transport.
  3. Antonelli Bros Ltd, apetito UK, Associated British Foods Plc, Birds Eye Iglo, Britvic, Burton's Food Ltd, Cadbury Schweppes, Daniels Sweet Herring, Danone Waters (UK & Ireland) Ltd, Dawnfresh Seafoods Ltd, Elizabeth Shaw Ltd, General Mills UK Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline, Kellogg's UK, Kraft Foods UK and Ireland, Macsween of Edinburgh, Mars UK, McCain Foods (GB) Ltd, Nestlé UK, Newly Weds Foods, Dr Oetker UK Ltd, PepsiCo UK, Premier Foods, Ripon Select Foods Ltd, Sara Lee Coffee & Tea UK, R.R Spinks and Son, Scot Trout Ltd, Tate & Lyle Plc, Unilever UK Ltd, Uniq Plc, United Biscuits, Virani Food Products Ltd, Warburtons Ltd, Weetabix Ltd, William Jackson Food Group, The Wrigley Company, Yakult UK Ltd, Young's Seafood Ltd.
  4. Set in the Food Industry Sustainability Strategy published by Defra in 2006.
  5. Further details of these and other case studies can be found at:


Supportive Quotes

“apetito are delighted to support the FDF initiative on achieving 'fewer and friendlier food transport miles'. We have already committed a multi-million pound investment into reducing the environmental impact of our road transport fleet through reduced mileage and exhaust emissions. This combined industry initiative enables us to build on this and achieve even more going forward.”
apetito UK: Paul Freeston, Managing Director

“Kellogg's has already actively developed its transportation infrastructure in line with several of the key commitments of the Government's Food Industry Sustainability Strategy and the Food and Drink Federation Five fold commitments which tackle the environmental and social impacts of transport from field to fork and beyond. We are working very hard with retailers and freight operators to ensure vehicles moving our goods are as full as possible. One market leading example of transport optimisation is an initiative for sharing freight movements with Kimberley Clark to increase the space used on trucks. In the meantime, we have written to the Government to improve the movement of freight from road to rail, particularly to help European movement of goods and we will push for new laws for longer lorries to dramatically reduce road miles by up to 25%.”
Kellogg's UK: Greg Peterson, Managing Director

“Macsween has been at the forefront of haggis production for more than 50 years. As a family firm, it is firmly rooted in its community and understands the importance of continuity within a national and international context. Consequently, the management team takes its responsibility towards the environment extremely seriously and the company strives to continually improve its performance and go beyond minimum regulatory requirements. This approach I believe is a clear reflection of the company's ongoing commitment to innovation, product quality and business excellence.”
Macsween of Edinburgh: James Macsween, Director

“Mars in the UK is delighted to support the FDF fewer and friendlier food transport miles commitment. By maximising load fill, minimising journey distances, increasing fuel efficiency and where possible shifting from road to rail - Mars UK is committed to achieving a 20% reduction of CO2 from transport by 2010 (base year 2006).”
Mars UK: Fiona Dawson, Managing Director

“The ten point checklist for greener food transport provides Premier Foods with a clear 'roadmap' which will assist us in developing best environmental practice within our logistics and fleet transport functions, we're pleased to be one of the first signatories supporting this policy.”
Premier Foods plc: Robert Schofield, Chief Executive

“Tate & Lyle is committed to minimising its impact on the environment. As a significant user of road transportation in the UK we recognise it is our duty to ensure that high environmental standards are embedded into our transport practices. That is why we are delighted to be a part of the FDF's Commitment and to work with other companies in the food and drink industry to achieve fewer and friendlier transport miles.”
Tate & Lyle Plc: Ian Bacon, Chief Executive, Sugars

“Unilever UK & Ireland are delighted to support the initiatives by both FDF and the IGD to reduce foods and goods miles. The potential economic and environmental benefits are huge, but we can only maximise these by collaborating effectively with our retail and transport partners.”
Unilever: Dave Lewis, Chairman UK & Ireland

“UB is pleased to support the FDF's policy of greener food transport. Much can be achieved by the food industry working together on a common aim of greener transport, which is why UB is already collaborating across the supply chain with its suppliers, customers and manufacturers. This has helped us reduce our annual transport mileage by over two million miles in the last few years. UB has also made its own commitment to reduce CO2 emissions by its vehicles by 22% by 2012. We are achieving new environmental standards to reach this goal and have so far reduced our carbon emissions by 16% since 2005.”
United Biscuits: David Fish, Executive Chairman

“Wrigley is proud to be part of the FDF's policy to drive greener food transport. Working with our 3PL partner Ceva Logistics, our customers, and suppliers, we are committed to reducing our environmental and social impacts from food transportation to contribute towards a better future.”
Wrigley: Gharry Eccles, Managing Director

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