Clear and mandatory commitments for F&B players are necessary to tackle UK’s net-zero strategy, says GlobalData

Following today’s news (Wednesday 3 November) that UK firms will be forced to show how they will adopt a low-carbon future from 2023;

George Henry, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on the latest action to tackle the climate emergency:

“The announcement of new net-zero commitments is no surprise as policymakers kicked off COP26 with attention-grabbing proposals. The Treasury’s decision will demand most big UK firms and financial institutions to show how they hit climate change targets in line with the country’s 2050 net-zero target.

“The recurring themes of sustainability and food waste mean eligible food and drink suppliers should be well positioned to meet net-zero targets. According to GlobalData’s 2021 Q3 consumer survey, 71% of UK consumers say ‘zero wastage’ is quite or extremely important in a product. This indicates the Treasury’s proposal aligns with consumer concerns, and, for foodservice, will encourage restaurants to localise supply chains at a faster pace than they perhaps previously would have.

“Without clearer guidelines and mandatory policies, however, sustainability goals will struggle to be met due to large disparities that will emerge across the food and drink (F&B) industry. In the absence of mandatory commitments, ‘free riders’ will inevitably resort to ‘greenwashing’, finding convenient routes out of playing their part – such as carbon offsetting.

“COP26 will lead to more announcements over the next two weeks, but less talk and more mandatory action is required. Within the food industry, the introduction of carbon labelling as standard practice serves as one example of how governments will need to be tougher to enact the changes demanded.”

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