World Summit on Sustainable Development
2002 UK Food and Drink Sector: FDF Interim Report
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) represents
the interests of the UK food and drink manufacturing industry.
FDF comprises a diverse range of trade associations representing
all types of companies, from large international food and drink
manufacturers through to smaller companies manufacturing new organic
products. FDF addresses every aspect of food and drink manufacturing,
from sourcing raw materials to processing, packaging, labelling
and distribution. We promote the industry's views to Government,
the EU and other opinion formers.
This Report reviews progress by the UK food
and drink industry in tackling sustainable development issues
since Rio 1992. It is intended to serve as a basis for discussion
with a wide range of stakeholders and opinion formers in the run
up to the next United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development
being held in Johannesburg, South Africa in September 2002. The
Report is structured according to the Government's four sustainable
development objectives namely:
Social progress which recognises
the needs of everyone.
Effective protection of the environment.
Prudent use of natural resources;
Maintenance of high and stable levels
of economic growth and employment.
Part 1 comprises the Executive Summary and Introduction
Part 2 presents a detailed review along with
examples of how the food and drink industry is addressing the
Government's four key sustainable development objectives and compromises
Part 2.1 covers improvements made
in public health, food quality, food diversity and nutrition (diet
and health); communication initiatives taken by the industry,
including information programmes and labelling; action taken to
address the needs of local communities; relations between food
and drink manufacturers and other stakeholders, including employees
and suppliers, investors, NGOs etc.
Part 2.2 discusses environmental
regulations and policies, including how the industry is pursuing
initiatives that go beyond legal requirements; it also reviews
management systems, including environmental management systems,
control of accidental releases and how environmental considerations
are taken into account in the food supply chain.
Part 2.3 discusses how FDF members
work to ensure the optimum use of natural resources, including
recycling and recovery where appropriate, in sourcing raw materials,
in manufacturing and in packaging.
Part 2.4 discusses the composition
and structure of the food and drink manufacturing industry, the
contribution it makes to the UK economy and its diversity.
Part 3 addresses some of the many challenges
facing the industry namely: consumer desire for "purer"
food, endocrine disruption, GMOs, sustainable agriculture and
Part 4 presents the conclusions of the review
The food and drink industry lies
at the very heart of sustainability as food production sustains
the world's population.
Companies within the food and drink
sector are committed to minimising the environmental impact of
their activities and working towards the objective of long term
The industry is already taking initiatives
which go significantly beyond legal requirements (eg environmental
reporting, environmental management systems, sharing good practice,
voluntary codes and agreements, community investment).
FDF is seeking to increase its understanding
of what sustainable development means in practice for the food
and drink manufacturing sector, particularly in terms of the UK
Government's four defining objectives; and to raise awareness
of the issues amongst its membership. FDF is actively participating
in the current debate, at a UK, European and international level;
and is proposing to develop guidelines for the food and drink
industry on practical measures that can be taken by manufacturing
companies. Work is underway to develop Key Performance Indicators
which companies can use to measure and report on their performance.
FDF considers it important that sustainable
development policy is taken forward holistically based on the
social, environmental and economic dimensions: these are inextricably
linked and cannot be addressed in isolation.
FDF also recognises that sustainable
development must similarly be considered in a holistic sense by
all parts of the food supply/use/disposal chainfarmers,
manufacturers, retailers, consumers and waste disposal companies.
The importance of maintaining and
enhancing public trust and confidence in the safety, wholesomeness
and quality of the food supply cannot be overstated and underlines
the importance of measures put in place by the industry to meet
The range and nature of products
provided by the food and drink industry is a reflection of demographic
trends and what consumers want to buy. The contribution that consumers
can therefore make, through their purchasing decisions, to achieving
sustainable food production and consumption should not be underestimated.
Raising consumer awareness of the issues involved, to enable consumers
to make informed choices, should therefore be a key part of the
In compiling this Report we have contacted a
range of other stakeholders to improve our understanding of what
sustainable development means in practice to the broader community.
It is intended to serve as a basis for further such discussions
in the run up to, and in conjunction with, the Johannesburg Summit.
As part of this process, FDF would be delighted to receive comments
on the Report. As the food and drink industry lies at the heart
of sustainability, in supplying the world's population with food,
FDF is committed to making an active contribution to the current
debate. We are working to develop a series of Key Performance
Indicators (KPIs) for sustainable development that are relevant
for the manufacture of food and drink. The widespread adoption
of such KPIs would enable the sector to measure and report on
progress achieved towards sustainable development.