► ResponsibilityReduce our environmental footprint

Reduce our environmental footprint


Delivering environmental improvements across our operations 

We strive for continual improvement when it comes to our environmental performance and encourage all colleagues to play their part in driving improvements across our operations.

Our internal Green Matters environmental campaign, which is supported by 65 Environmental Champions, runs in partnership with the Woodland Trust’s Woodland Carbon Scheme and commits us to planting 25m2 of trees for every tonne of CO2 we reduce our emissions by.

Over the last four years we’ve planted over 29 acres of new woodland, which in turn has removed 4,924 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere, over and above the reduction achieved by our sites. Building on this success, we’re now working in partnership with the Woodland Trust, the Rivers Trust and several food businesses to develop a programme focused around planting trees where they can reduce water stress, flooding and soil erosion from farm land. Planting is due to begin in 2019.

All of our manufacturing sites (excluding Knighton) are accredited to globally recognised standards of environmental management through ISO 14001.



Our longer-term environmental goals and performance in 2018-19:

red-petal-small.jpg CO2 Emissions
Target: Achieve a 55% absolute reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025 against the 1990 baseline.
Progress: Our overall C02 emissions in 2018/19 have reduced by 37% to 64,718 tonnes against our baseline figure of 103,102 tonnes CO2  (Year ended 31 December 2008 when we first started to collect emissions data). 
red-petal-small.jpg Food Waste
Target: Send zero food waste to landfill from direct operations and contribute to reducing food waste across the whole supply chain from farm to fork, including within our operations.
Increase food waste re-distribution to over 750 tonnes per annum by 2020
Progress: During 2018/19 we have continued to maintain zero waste to landfill. We have increased the amount of food waste that goes to re-distribution to 304 tonnes, an increase of 24% compared with the previous year. We became a founder member of Champions 12.3, and were one of the first companies in the UK to publicly declare our food waste figures.
red-petal-small.jpg Packaging
Target: Minimise the impact of used packaging associated with food and drink products and to encourage innovation in packaging technology and design that contributes to overall product sustainability.
Progress: We are proud to be founder members of the of both Courtauld 2025 and the UK Plastics Pact. Together by 2025, these initiatives aim to:
• Reduce consumer waste in the home, including packaging, by 20%;
• Eliminate unnecessary single use plastic;
• Move to 100% reusable, recycle or compostable plastic packaging;
• Ensure that 70% of plastic packaging is effectively recycled or composted; and
• Use an average of 30% recycled content across plastic packaging 
Work is now underway to identify opportunities to enable us to support these commitments, and we will be reporting our progress against the UKPP annually from 2019.
red-petal-small.jpg Water
Target: Deliver continuous improvement in the use of water across the whole supply chain and take action to ensure sustainable water management and stewardship. Contribute to an industry-wide target to reduce water use by 25% by 2020 compared to 2007.
Progress: The Group Environmental Manager sits on the Courtauld 2025 Water Stewardship Steering Group as Co-Chair. Our planned project, in partnership with the Rivers Trust, to plant trees where they can reduce water stress, flooding and soil erosion from farm land is planned to start in 2019. In 2018/19 we exceeded this target, reducing our overall water usage by 719,753 cubic meters (on a like-for-like basis), 28.2% less than our baseline figure of 1,002,512 Cubic Meters (Year ended 31 December 2008 when we first started to collate water usage data).
red-petal-small.jpg Transport
Target: Reduce the environmental impact of our transport operations, whether from own fleet operations and third party hauliers, in terms of both carbon intensity and air quality aspects. 

Embed a fewer and friendlier fuel miles approach within food transport practices.

Progress: Electric vehicle charging points have now been installed on or adjacent to eight of our manufacturing or office sites. The consolidation of our logistics operations to a single distribution centre in Tamworth has resulted in an estimated reduction of approximately 1.1 million road miles this year. This will have reduced the CO2 emissions from transport by an estimated 1,260 tonnes.


Our products are packaged in a way that balances the need to ensure food safety, preserve freshness and taste, prevent food waste, provide convenience, and share important information with consumers. We continue to work hard to optimize our packaging to reduce its environmental impact; using more materials from certified sustainable sources wherever possible, increasing our use of recycled materials, and increasing the recyclability of our packaging. Indeed, 94% of our packaging by weight is recyclable. 


We support a vision for a circular plastics economy, where plastic is valued and kept in the economy, but out of the environment. It’s why we signed up as a founding member of the UK Plastics Pact and pledged to work with governments, businesses, local authorities, NGOs and citizens to help transform the UK plastics packaging sector by 2025 and commit to support its four ambitions: 

  • Eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging
  • 100% plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable
  • 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted
  • 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging 

To achieve this vision and shape our own use of plastics within product packaging, we’ve adopted a recycle, reduce and remove strategy to set ourselves ambitious goals. This means reviewing the recyclability of and volume of plastics used within our packaging and identifying where we can make improvements. Where an alternative packaging material is available, is deemed suitable and is more sustainable for the environment, we will look to remove plastic.


Our use of plastics today

  • Plastics comprise 12% of the total volume of our packaging portfolio. 
  • We’ve removed 320 tonnes of plastic materials from our packaging over the last three years.
  • Almost 70% of the plastics we use are recyclable, in accordance with today’s on-pack recycling label guidelines.  
  • In early 2019 we removed black plastic from all of our Mr Kipling cakes and pies, switching from using black plastic trays to recyclable, clear plastic trays with a minimum 50% recycled content. This workstream has removed 400 tonnes of black plastic from the UK market annually.

Our long-term goals:

 Embed environmentally sustainable packaging across our portfolio:
  • 100% of our plastic packaging to be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025
  • We continuously review our customer and consumer packaging to minimize it wherever possible. Through this we aim to reduce the weight of plastics used by 500t by 2025.
 Engage with our supply chain to minimise the environmental impact of our packaging and explore more sustainable solutions for our packaging innovation:
  • We will remove problematic plastics (PVC and PS) from our portfolio by end of 2020.
  • We will actively seek to increase the use of recycled plastic content across our portfolio to help create a market-pull for recycled polymers, wherever practicable, and in compliance with food safety standards.
  • As we innovate new packaging, we will investigate use of all recyclable plastic material options as well as reusable designs, compostable substrates and also any non-plastic packaging which may offer improved long term sustainability.   
 Educate consumers and customers by providing clarity on disposal options:
  • We will continue to clearly and transparently label our products, in compliance with OPRL guidelines, so that our consumers can easily understand the recyclability of any end of life waste packaging. With 100% of our UK Retail portfolio to carry OPRL* by end 2019 

Food waste 

We support the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 of halving food waste globally by 2030. To support this goal:

  • We have signed up to Champions 12.3 (a coalition that consists
    of governments, businesses and other organisations) which aims to mobilise action and accelerate progress toward achieving this goal, and in 2018 we were one of the first companies in the UK to publicly report our
    food waste figures through Champions 12.3 reports published on Tesco’s website. Read our latest report here.
  • In 2018 we also became a founder signatory of the IGD WRAP Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, which encourages food and drink  organisations to consistently measure and report their food surplus and waste data. We will first report against this in 2019.
  • We are a signatory of the Courtauld Commitment 2025, a
    voluntary 10 year ambition that brings together organisations across the food chain to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable.

Our Case Studies


Removing black plastic

... across Mr Kipling & Cadbury

As a founder member of the UK Plastics Pact, we’re taking important action to achieve 100% recyclability of the plastics we use across our product packaging. Today, plastics make up just 12% of our packaging by weight, with 70% of that plastic recyclable and containing on average 11% of recycled material.

Black plastic has been identified as particularly problematic because, whilst technically recyclable, UK recycling centres do not currently have the optical sorting equipment needed to identify and recycle it. As a result, black plastic will often get sent to landfill or incineration.

To address this challenge, at the start of 2019 we took action to remove black plastic from our portfolio - first from our Mr Kipling Cakes, Pies, and Puddings and secondly from our Cadbury Cakes – switching instead to using a clear, recyclable plastic tray or pot. These contain a minimum of 50% recycled content, an important attribute given our ambition to support a circular plastics economy.

This project has resulted in the removal of 500 tonnes non-recyclable black plastic from the UK market annually.

Combatting water stress

Our tree planting programme

As a signatory of Courtauld 2025, we are committed to supporting its Water Ambition and playing our part to improve the quality and availability of water in key areas of the UK where ingredients are sourced to produce food and drink.

In 2017 we joined the Tamar Water Stewardship Business Board, joining forces with other local organisations, along with The Westcountry Rivers Trust, to address the issue of water stress and the associated risks of water scarcity, flooding and water pollution in the River Tamar catchment area in Devon, where our Ambrosia Creamery is located. After investigation, the Board concluded that by strategically planting woodland trees, it would be possible to both reduce the risk of soil erosion and increase soil water retention.

Premier Foods was already planting trees across the UK in partnership with the Woodland Trust, and in four years had funded 29 acres of woodland planting from the money we had saved by reducing our energy usage across our sites. We therefore decided to build upon this partnership by planting trees in an area that would address a known water stress challenge and benefit both communities and businesses within the catchment. This has resulted in us funding the planting of 16,000 trees within the River Tamar catchment area in early 2020.

Hazel Kendall, Head of Land Management at Westcountry Rivers Trust attends the Business Board and has been working with Premier Foods and others to progress collaborative working in the Tamar, as part of the CPES (Channel Payments for Ecosystem Services) project to develop new partnerships in environmental project delivery: “The opportunity to link together local interests based on a collective desire to improve our environmental performance is a brilliant outcome for the Trust and this is just one example of what’s possible as a result. By undertaking a mapping exercise to identify key areas of opportunity and risk, the Business Board were able to identify how to optimize any activity to deliver multiple environmental benefits such as boosting Biodiversity levels and increasing Carbon uptake, as well as water protection. We hope that it sends a message to others that there are numerous ways to get involved and we look forward to the next steps.”

Reducing our food waste

Our partnership with Company Shop

In our commitment to support the UN Sustainability Development Goal 12.3 and its ambition to halve food waste globally by 2030, we are proud to partner with Company Shop to redistribute food waste back into the human food chain, to support those most in need within our communities. Company Shop take our edible but damaged and therefore unsaleable food and sell it to community members at a discounted price. Profits are used to help fund activities and workstations for the local community which take place at Community Shop centres and include, for example, cookery lessons, craft sessions, lunch clubs and CV writing workshops.

In 2019 we strengthened our partnership with Company Shop and met our target to double the number of our manufacturing sites partnered with them, from three to six. This resulted in us redistributing 441 tonnes of food waste via Company Shop in 2019, an uplift of 45% compared with the previous year. By sending food directly from our manufacturing sites to the nearest Company Shop, we’re also able to maximise product shelf life, reduce our road miles and therefore reduce C02 emissions.