Project launched to tackle greenwashing in food and drink sectors

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The Environment Agency has launched a project to standardise metrics for environmental performance of food and drink sector.

Working in partnership with 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, the Environment Agency is aiming to make it simpler for businesses and for the public to understand the environmental performance of companies in key areas such as greenhouse gas reduction and resource efficiency.

Project lead Becca Tremain, of the Environment Agency, commented on the announcement: “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.

“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.

“This project seeks to address this challenge by standardising environmental metrics for food businesses that go 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.”

The initiative is set to help manufacturers to communicate their environmental performance to the public more effectively, minimising the opportunity for greenwashing.

The project is also hoped to incentivise companies toward greener manufacturing processes and business operations helping to tackle climate change.

The project has been made possible by a £195,000 grant from the £3.7 million Regulators’ Pioneer Fund launched by The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The fund enables UK regulators and local authorities to help create a UK regulatory environment that ‘unleashes innovation and makes the UK the best place to start and grow a business.’

The partnership will be working with IEMA, the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, trade associations and private sector organisations, including Sainsbury’s, Nestle, Cranswick, 2 Sisters and Vitacress, to understand and ensure the feasibility of the metrics.