Sustainability program inspires Scottish food industry

Scottish Food and Drink Federation (SFDF), is partnering with business associates and food and drink manufacturers in the Scottish Industry Advisory Group (IAG) for resource efficiency developments as well as maintaining economic competitiveness with sustainable growth delivery.

The Scottish food and drink manufacturing industry comprise 1,200 companies, with a £9 billion turnover in 2012, and exports worth over £5.4bn.

The IAG was formed in 2013 between SFDF, Zero Waste Scotland’s Resource Efficient Scotland (RES), a program to save money by using resources efficiently and Interface Food & Drink, which promotes partnerships between business and academics.

The group is made up of 20 established food and drink companies and acts as a forum to identify important resources with efficiency issues.

The IAG work builds upon the Food and Drink Federation (FDF)’s Five-fold Environmental Ambition to improve resource efficiency including reductions in carbon emissions, water, food and packaging waste and transport.

Collaboration is formed between many businesses to tackle the need to reduce waste. Gordon and MacPhail, Mackies, Macphie and Dean took part in a trial to recycle plastics contaminated with food residues which normally go to landfill. The result was a reduction in the amount of waste sent to landfill which reduced the company waste disposal costs.

After this success, eight companies in Grampian are now taking part in a waste collection stream where the plastics are sent to be recycled. An online guide to collaborative recycling of plastics has been produced by RES to help companies.

Recently, Macsween of Edinburgh worked with RES to convert plastic waste used to transport raw meat ingredients into sustainable energy and uses pioneering technologies to create Refuse Derived Fuel which is made by shredding and dehydrating the solid waste which is then used to produce sustainable energy.

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In addition, members have achieved a 32 per cent reduction in carbon emissions compared to 1990 and the reduction of food and packaging sent to landfill was just 3 per cent of total waste.

FDF members are also reducing waste and FDF is a founding partner of the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) Fresher for Longer part of the Love Food Hate Waste campaign. This initiative demonstrates to consumers the better use of packaging to reduce the amount of food they throw away.

Sustainable Sourcing: Five Steps Towards Managing Supply Chain Risk, a guide by FDF sets out a step-by-step process to help businesses identify, highlight and manage supply chain risks as part of a strategic approach towards supply chain sustainability.

SFDF and RES are in the process of developing a joint project to support the practical implementation of the Guide, helping Scottish food and drink businesses identify savings through energy. Dean’s of Huntly and Innovate Foods are taking part in this.

An extensive web-based online tool will be published this year by WRAP, with support from FDF, to help food and drink businesses assess raw material risks and opportunities, including a wide range of raw materials and sourcing locations.

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