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Sustainability and Innovation in Our Operations

As a trusted partner we’re tackling waste and reducing the environmental footprint of both our own operations and the food we produce. Sustainability and Innovation encompasses how we manage the impacts of our direct operations and products. It comprises four ESG issues: food waste, resource efficiency and emissions, impact of packaging and sustainable product development.

Reducing food waste

Food waste is one of the biggest issues facing our sector and an issue that at Bakkavor, we take to heart. We’re committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 12.3 – to halve food waste across the supply chain by 2030.

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Operations

Resource Efficiency, Emissions and Net Zero

Climate change is a significant issue facing society and the Group. This is why we’ve made the commitment to reach Net Zero emissions across our Group operations by 2040.

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Operations

Impact of Packaging

Selecting the right packaging for our products involves considering a number of factors. In particular, we must prioritise food safety and quality, food waste and balance this with the environmental impact of the packaging across its lifecycle.

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Impact of packaging

Sustainable Product Development

As a business we want to help facilitate the shift to healthier, more sustainable lifestyles by producing a wide range of healthy, innovative and great value products that suit vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian diets, including for the dedicated plant-based product ranges for our strategic customers.

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Product Innovation
  • Food Waste
  • Food Waste
  • Resource efficiency, emissions and net zero
  • Impact of packaging
  • Sustainable Product Development

Food waste

According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (“FAO”), around the world, one third of food, equivalent to around 1.3 billion tonnes, is wasted along the value chain – equivalent to 8-10% of man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This means that not only is the financial value wasted, so too are all the resources that went into making it – from the water used to grow each of the ingredients and the fuel that transported them, to the energy used to process, refrigerate and cook them.

The UK manufacturing sector contributed to 1.5 million tonnes of food waste in 2018 in the UK alone. As a sector we need to reduce this by 135,000 tonnes each year to hit the target of halving food waste by 2030. We have been measuring our food waste since 2017 using the principles and template of ‘Target, Measure, Act’ – a toolkit set by the non-profit organisation WRAP and the IGD – and we have committed to halving our food waste by 2030 to support the Champions 12.3 initiative. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC”) estimates that food waste contributes to 8-10% of total man-made greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions and, as such, this initiative has a significant contribution to mitigating climate change.

Our commitments:

  • Continue working towards our Champions 12.3 target of reducing food loss by preventing it at each of our sites, whilst measuring and reporting our progress annually (2030)
  • Actively engage each of our UK and US sites to maximise the suitable surplus food available for redistribution (2022).
Read the fact sheet: Food Waste

Resource Efficiency, Emissions and Net Zero

Climate change is a major issue facing our company, the entire food system and wider society. At Bakkavor, we recognise that we have impacts on the environment and that we have a part to play in reversing the climate emergency and working towards a low carbon economy. That’s why in 2021, we formalised our commitment to reaching Net Zero across our UK, US and China operations by 2040, supporting the outcomes of the Paris Agreement and the objective to limit global warming to well below 2°c and aiming for 1.5°c. We set ourselves this target to galvanise the business around the imperative to act and support the food industry in leading on this issue.

Climate change is connected to multiple sustainability and ESG issues including environmentally sustainable sourcing, food waste, packaging and of course, resource efficiency and emissions.

Our commitments:

  • Net Zero across our Group operations by 2040.
  • Reduce our emissions per £m revenue year on year (intensity ratio)

Water

As a food manufacturer, a consistent and adequate supply of fresh water is critical to our business operations. For example for hygiene purposes, and in food preparation and cooking processes. 100% of our sites have fully functioning, safely managed water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services for all workers. This is vital for our safe operating food hygiene standards and is incorporated into our Group health, safety and environment policies.

Our commitments:

  • Work towards optimising operational water intensity per tonne of product, whilst maintaining product quality and integrity, reporting internally on a monthly basis through the environmental tracker (year-on-year).
Read the fact sheet: Resource Efficiency, Emissions and Net Zero
Read our CDP responses: Climate Change 2021, Water Security 2021
Read our TCFD report in our latest Annual Report 2021

Impact of Packaging

Packaging for fresh prepared food plays a critical role. It ensures products maintain our high standards of food safety and quality as they reach store shelves and consumers’ kitchens and extend shelf lives which in turn reduces food waste. Nevertheless, plastics – in particular single-use formats – contribute to a global pollution problem and originate from non-renewable resources. Therefore, choosing the right packaging materials and formats alongside our customers is vitally important in order to balance shelf-life, safety and quality along with the circularity and sustainability of food packaging materials and enable consumers to recycle as much as possible.

In 2019, we signed up to the goals of The UK Plastics Pact for our UK business as they closely align to our goals and those of our UK customers. In 2020 we have continued to make strong progress against the 2025 targets by working closely with our customers to explore ways to eliminate unnecessary plastic packaging, light-weighting packaging, substituting for alternatives and increasing recycled content.

Our commitments:

  • Support the UK Plastics Pact’s shared industry goals:
    • Eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging
    • 100% of plastics packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable
    • 30% average recycled content in plastic packaging
Read the fact sheet: Impact of Packaging

Sustainable Product Development

As a business we want to help facilitate the shift to healthier, more sustainable lifestyles by producing a wide range of healthy, innovative and great value products that suit vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian diets, including for the dedicated plant-based product ranges for our strategic customers.

Also read about how we ensure product safety, quality and ingredient integrity.

Our commitments:

  • Work with customers to meet their nutrition targets on salt, sugar, saturated fat and overall calories through reformulation.
  • Enable sustainable diets through our product portfolio by continuing to lead and drive plant-based fresh prepared product ranges.
Read the fact sheet: Sustainable Product Development