Nick Bunker calls for more food and less impact

Sensemaking / Nick Bunker calls for more food and less impact

The UK’s food and drink industry has a big role to play in sustainable growth, says the President of Kraft Foods UK and Ireland

02 Jul 2012

The UK’s food and drink industry has a big role to play in sustainable growth, says the President of Kraft Foods UK and Ireland

I believe the engagement of business in the Rio process is paramount – because we are the people who produce things, employ people, generate wealth and put science and technology to work.

But, in this process we use precious resources.  As a result, we have both a duty and a compelling business case to continue in ways that are sustainable, so that our consumers can continue enjoying the food and drinks they love for generations to come.

As the country’s largest manufacturing sector, we believe that the UK food and drink industry has a major role to play in delivering sustainable growth.  Our job is to supply consumers with safe, nutritious, appetising and affordable food.  But, we need to rise to the challenge of producing more, from less, with less environmental impact if we are to help deal with the combined pressures of population growth and climate change over the next 20 years and beyond.

The Food and Drink Federation put together its industry-wide environmental sustainability programme nearly five years ago – our Five-fold Environmental Ambition – to deliver real and measurable savings in water and energy use, transport, packaging and food waste, in order to demonstrate that good environmental practice makes good business sense.  As you’ll see from the case studies in this edition some fantastic progress has been made.

But there is still more to be done.  At Kraft Foods, we realised that almost 90% of our environmental impact was outside our factories and offices, most notably in the farms that grow the ingredients we need for our products.  So we have developed programmes to work with farmers, and partnerships with organisations like the Fairtrade Foundation and Rainforest Alliance to help improve both the livelihoods of the farmers and their families, as well as the quality and sustainability of our products.  It’s a perfect example of sustainability being good for business.

Building on the success of examples like this from across the industry, the FDF has recently expanded the aims of the Five Fold Ambition to address sustainability across the supply chain, and support work with partners to overcome barriers to protecting and enhancing the natural resources vital to future production.

The food and drink industry has already achieved a huge amount.  But, there is a lot more to be done. We hope some of the experiences and expertise captured in these pages will help inspire businesses, governments and NGOs in Rio and beyond to work together to deliver a more sustainable future.

Nick Bunker is President, Kraft Foods UK and Ireland; and Chair of the Food and Drink Federation’s Sustainability Steering Group.

What might the implications of this be? What related articles have you seen?

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