Global demand for water is increasing putting pressure on freshwater supplies and ecosystems. Several areas of the UK are already water stressed, with concerns for water quality also an issue. Reliable and sufficient freshwater is important for the long-term sustainability of the food and drink industry; water is required for raw materials, processing needs and as an ingredient. 

Water is a key pillar of FDF's Ambition 2025. We aim to deliver continuous improvement in water use across the supply chain and to ensure sustainable water management and stewardship. We also aim to contribute to an industry-wide target to reduce water use by 20% by 2020 compared to 2007.

The FDF is working collaboratively across the supply chain on initiatives addressing quality and availability of water, as well as water efficiency, including the Courtauld 2025 Water Ambition and Water for Food Group.

The FDF is also working with stakeholders to influence future policy, notable in relation to water abstraction.

Updates & milestones

WRAP launch Courtauld Commitment 2030 with renewed targets

Today WRAP have announced that they have extended their Courtauld commitment to 2030, with renewed targets on food waste, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water.

  1. On food waste, to deliver against UN SDG 12.3: a 50% per capita reduction in food waste by 2030 vs the UK 2007 baseline (covering manufacture, retail, hospitality and food service, and household)
  2. On GHG emissions, to deliver a 50% absolute reduction in GHG emissions associated with food and drink consumed in the UK by 2030 (against a 2015 baseline)
  3. On water, for businesses to increase water use efficiency in their own operations and contribute to achieving sustainable water management to improve the quality and availability of water at catchment scale with an overall target that by 2030 50% of fresh food is sources from areas with sustainable water management

You can find a summary of progress to date in the Courtauld Commitment Annual Report.

At the same time, and to enable smaller businesses to engage with Courtauld Commitment 2030, WRAP has introduced an Associate Membership model.

Date for return of the Environment Bill confirmed

It has been confirmed that the Environment Bill will return to Parliament on 26 May to finish Commons Report stages, before proceeding to the Lords.

Ambition 2025 progress report and mid-term review published

On 24 February, the FDF launched our Ambition 2025 Mid-term Review and Ambition 2025 Progress Report 2020 which was supported by a series of member case studies.

As highlighted in this year’s progress report, there has been exceptional progress in some areas, including:

  • 55% reduction in CO2 emissions, five years before the target was due to be reached.
  • 41.5% reduction in absolute water consumption in 2019 and support for the Courtauld 2025 Water Ambition.
  • Contributed to the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap.
  • Continued to build relationships with key stakeholders and with UK governments including through engagement on various the Plastics tax; undertook advocacy on PRN cost crisis; supported the UK Plastics Pact; and launched new guidelines on using recycled content in plastic packaging applications.
  • Promoted the fewer and friendlier miles agenda through FDF’s 10 Point Checklist.
  • Updated and promoted the Sustainability Resource Hub.
  • Promoted the FDF Natural Capital Awareness Document.

The FDF also published a press release, with supporting quote from Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow MP. The launch has been extensively covered across the trade media.

WRAP Water Security Roadmap and Water Risk Hotspot Survey

At the water session at the Courtauld 2025 Summit WRAP announced they are developing a new industry-wide Roadmap towards Water Security for Food & Drink. This is an important area of climate-related risk that food and drink businesses will increasingly need to grapple with. The Roadmap is intended to try and make it easier and clearer to know what to do; and to make it easier to work together to safeguard this critical resource. The Courtauld Summit session provides some useful background context, and a range of business perspectives. A link to the meeting recording is available here: Developing a roadmap towards water security for food & drink supply chains.

To inform the Roadmap, WRAP are reaching out to businesses to understand where they need to be focusing our efforts. They have one key question: Where (countries, regions) do you face water future risks (operating/sourcing) and would be interested to work with others? Support is available to help with mapping supply chain risks – with the Water Risk Filter being a good place to start: This also helps inform reporting needs, such as TCFD risk assessments.

WRAP will be holding a meeting in March/April to discuss the first draft. Please contact for more details / a meeting invite.


The Food and Drink Federation publishes Ambition 2025 Progress and Mid-Term Review reports

Food and drink companies beat CO2 reduction targets five years early, leading to new sustainability commitments in far reaching report.

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