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WRAP announces forum to tackle carbon footprint of everyday goods
More than 80 UK organisations have joined a new forum to tackle the environmental footprint of everyday goods.
The Product Sustainability Forum (PSF) includes retailers, suppliers, environmental charities, academics and UK government branches that have joined together to research ways of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, water use, packaging, reliance on raw materials, and product-related waste used in the lifecycles of countless everyday consumer goods, such as dairy products and tinned groceries.
The forum was set up by WRAP in response to discussions with industry and governments and is chaired by the organisation’s chief executive, Dr Liz Goodwin.
Announcing the launch of the forum yesterday (20 June), Goodwin said: “The scale of the challenge is enormous. For example, the British Retail Consortium estimates that the retail sector alone accounts for around 3.5 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions, and the retail supply chain, for more than 30 per cent."
"Many companies already measure the environmental impact of their products but until now, this has always been done in isolation, and the methodology and results have not been shared. By working together, we have a real opportunity to minimise the effect our activities have on the planet", Goodwin added.
The PSF is the first organisation of its kind in the UK, and is unique in that it focuses on the environmental impacts of a product’s whole life, rather than one single aspect of it. “This is not only about identifying the products themselves, but also where in the lifecycle any action would have the most effect”, said Goodwin.
It is hoped that the forum will not only improve the environmental performance of products but will also cut costs and improve resource efficiency. “With the current focus on the challenges of sustainability being discussed at the Rio+20 Summit this week, and the UK’s own carbon targets very much in mind, the group will play a critical role in both driving down CO2 emissions and reducing other environmental impacts of the way we resource, manufacture and sell goods”, noted Goodwin.
The PSF has already started working on identifying the grocery and DIY products that have the greatest need for environmental improvement, and will produce a report in the autumn which will identify priority areas for improvement and detail action plans from member organisations.
“The PSF vision is that everyday products should be designed with resource efficiency in mind, minimising environmental impact and encouraging sustainable consumption and production. With more than 80 organisations supporting these goals, along with the support from all the UK governments, we’re determined that to make progress towards this vision a reality”, said Goodwin, adding: “It’s pretty unusual – if not unique – to see so many major organisations and brands working alongside one another and sharing best practice in order to find ways of making better use of all our resources. This demonstrates just how seriously organisations are taking the issue of sustainability and the impact of their manufacturing and retail processes.”
The forum has been supported by the Scottish and Welsh Governments and already counts major organisations such as Kellog’s, Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola, the British Retail Consortium and UK supermarket chains as members.
A full list of PSF members and further information on the forum can be found on the WRAP website.
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