Measuring environment claims in the food and drink sector

A project to establish standardised metrics to measure environmental performance of the food and drink sector and stamp out misleading ‘green washing’ claims has been launched by the UK’s environment agencies.

A partnership involving the Environment Agency in England, the Institute for Manufacturing at the University of Cambridge, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Waste and Resources Action Programme and the British Standards Institute – aims to make it simpler for businesses to present their credentials - and for the public to understand the environmental performance of companies in key areas such as greenhouse gas reduction and resource efficiency.

The partners said that the initiative would help manufacturers to more effectively communicate their environmental performance to the public, minimising the opportunity for green washing.

It also hopes to incentivise companies toward greener manufacturing processes and business operations helping to tackle climate change:

“One of the big challenges for food businesses trying to mitigate climate change is how to communicate their environmental performance that goes beyond legal compliance effectively and efficiently,” said Project lead Becca Tremain, of the Environment Agency.

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“Different food businesses have developed and adopted various environmental metrics and it can be time-consuming for food businesses to collect data from different supplier systems.

She said that the project sought to address this challenge by standardising environmental metrics for food businesses that went beyond legal compliance:

“It aims to provide an effective and efficient solution to enable the automation of environmental performance data transfer across different food businesses.”

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