► ResponsibilityDelivering Environmental Improvements

Delivering Environmental Improvements


We’re passionate about bringing together our colleagues, suppliers and industry partners to reduce our environmental footprint.

Delivering environmental improvements across our operations 

We’re continually looking for ways to improve our environmental performance and actively engage in the wider environmental agenda. All colleagues are encouraged to play their part through our ‘Green Matters’ initiative, an internal environmental campaign supported by 65 Environmental Champions across our sites.  

green_matters_logo.png Our Green Matters initiative operates in partnership with the Woodland Trust's Woodland Carbon Scheme, which encourages colleagues to offset energy and C02 emissions by planting 25m2 of trees for every tonne of carbon we reduce our emissions by.
Read more in our case study further down this page.


ISO14001.jpgAll of our manufacturing sites (excluding Knighton) are accredited to globally recognised standards of environmental management through ISO 14001. 



Our longer-term targets and our progress in 2017/18

red-petal-small.jpg CO2 Emissions
Target: Achieve a 55% absolute reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025 against the 1990 baseline.
Progress: Our overall CO2 emmissions in 2017/18 have reduced by 26.4% to 75,950 tonnes against our baseline figure of 103,102 tonnes CO2 (Year ended 31 December 2008 when we first started to collate emissions data).
red-petal-small.jpg Waste
Target: Send zero food waste to landfill and contribute to reducing food waste across the whole supply chain from farm to fork, including within our operations.
Progress: During 2017/18 we have continued to maintain zero waste to landfill. We have increased the amount of food waste that goes to re-distribution by 233 tonnes, an increase of 33% and 77.5% of our food waste was reused for animal feed or redistributed.
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 both Courtauld 2025 and the UK Plastics Pact.
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: Premier Foods sits on the Courtauld 2025 Water Stewardship Steering Group as Co-Chair. Projects are underway to evolve the Premier Foods Green Matters initiative to focus on planting trees where they can reduce water stress, flooding and soil erosion from farm land.

Our overall water usage was 787,453 Cubic Meters, a reduction of 21.5% against 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 been installed at three of our sites and within the next twelve months charging points will be installed at a further three sites.

The consolidation of our logistics operations during the year has seen the reduction in road miles of approximately 367,000 miles and we estimate that this will have reduced our CO2 emissions from transport by around 480 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.
UKPP-logo-cropped.jpgWe 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.
  • 70% of the plastics we use, are recyclable in accordance with today’s on-pack recycling label guidelines.  
  • We’ve begun removing black plastic from all of our Mr Kipling cakes and pies, switching from using black plastic trays to recyclable clear plastic trays. This workstream will remove almost 400 tonnes of black plastic from our packaging portfolio.

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 

Zero-landfill.jpgWe have maintained a zero waste to landfill status since 2013, and in 2017/18 reduced the amount of waste we sent to incineration by 23% as a result of improved segregation and awareness. Read more in our case study further down this page.

We are committed to playing our part in achieving the UN General Assembly’s 12.3 target to halve, per capita, global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains losses by 2030.  We are therefore proud signatories 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. Read more in our case study further down this page.

...Champions 12.3, a group of companies and executives united by their shared commitment to mobilise and accelerate progress towards achieving Target 12.3.  As Champions 12.3 signatories we will be publishing our food waste figures annually. This is an important and bold new step for the food industry, and as one of the first food manufacturers to do so, we hope others will follow our lead. In future years, we will be able to comment on our progress and measure our efforts compared with our food industry peers.  

Read about the work we’ve begun and the future opportunities we’ve identified to eliminate, reduce and redistribute our food waste in the case study further down this page. 



Case Study: 'Green Matters' and reducing our carbon emissions

green_matters_logo.pngIn 2015 we established our Green Matters initiative in partnership with the Woodland Trust, with the aim of reducing our carbon emissions. We pledged to plant 25 sqm of trees for every tonne of carbon we reduced our emissions by, as 25 sqm of trees will over the lifetime of those trees, remove a further tonne of CO2 from the atmosphere.  This effectively doubles every tonne of CO2 we reduce by. To drive colleague engagement, we appointed Environmental Champions across our business.  

In three years of running the scheme, by reducing our carbon emissions we have planted 21 acres of new woodland. This has removed a further 3,498 tonnes of C02 from the atmosphere, over and above the reduction achieved at our sites. 

Reducing our carbon emissions wasn't our only Green Matters achievement. In 2017-18, our Environmental Champions alone were able to achieve a 1.0% reduction in energy used per tonne and send 2.3% less waste to incineration by driving awareness and behavioural changes among colleagues. 

Building on our success... We plan to evolve this initiative by working with the Woodland Trust and the Rivers Trust to plant trees on farmland that produces our raw materials. This work will not only reduce CO2, but provide added benefits such as reducing soil erosion, prevention of flooding and shelterbelts to improve crop yields. 


Case study: Courtauld 2025

In March 2016, Premier Foods was announced as one of the principal signatories of the Courtauld Commitment 2025, an ambitious ten year voluntary commitment that brings together organisations across the food and grocery sector to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable.

Along with the other signatories from the retailer, food manufacturing, hospitality and Local Authority sectors, we collectively committed to the following three goals, calculated as a relative reduction per head of population:
• 20% reduction in food & drink waste arising in the UK;
• 20% reduction in the greenhouse gas intensity of food & drink consumed in the UK; and
• A reduction in impact associated with water use in the supply chain.

Building on the progress we’ve made through our commitment to previous Courtauld agreements, we have committed to work with the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and other signatories to develop best practice, implement change and report annually against four key areas:
1. finding innovative ways to make best use of the wastes and surpluses;
2. optimising the whole supply chain to produce more with less;
3. embedding new criteria into design, buying and sourcing; and
4. influencing consumption behaviours and reducing waste.

We will first be reporting on our progress in 2019.     


Case study: Reducing our food waste 

In our efforts to reduce our food waste, for the last 20 years we have redirected suitable food waste into animal feed. This has included:  
  • Cake off-cuts from our 3 bakery sites 
  • Broken and therefore unsellable Super-Noodles and Poppadum's 
  • Turning wheat husk waste from our grain mill into animal feed pellets 

Through our commitment to Courtauld 2025 and Champions 12.3, we have conducted analysis on the volume of food waste we produce across our operation and identified where it is coming from. Through a deeper understanding of our food waste streams, we have been able to identify and begin implementing further future food waste reduction opportunities.

These include: 

  • In early 2018, we completed a project to remove salt water, a bi-product of operations at our Ashford factory, from anaerobic digestion disposal. The programme enables us to recycle the salt via a third-party processing plant, after which it is returned to us for use as a water softener in our boiler systems.  Within the first six months, this initiative removed over 350 tonnes of salt water from anaerobic digestion disposal.


  • We have been redistributing edible but damaged (and therefore unsaleable) product to Company Shop and their charity Community Shop for almost 20 years, and in 2017 increased volumes compared with the year before by 36%. We believe we could do more and in 2018 have set ourselves the ambitious target to double the tonnage of food redistributed compared to 2017.  
  • Opportunity to remove canteen food waste from incineration and send it to anaerobic digestion to create power from biomethane.  
  • We are in discussions with potential partners to redirect dairy food waste from our Devon Creamery into animal feed. Currently, faulty cans of custard and rice pudding are sent into anaerobic digestion disposal. We now plan to work with a third party to remove the food from its packaging, redistribute it into animal feed, and then recycle the packaging. 


Case study: Achieving our zero waste to landfill ambition 

Zero-landfill.jpgThe grocery industry is responsible for producing more than six million tonnes of waste a year, including waste food, drink, and packaging. A lot of this is sent to landfill which has a significant environmental cost through the creation of damaging greenhouse gases such as methane, and a financial cost to businesses and households.  

In 2010 we sent more than 10,000 tonnes of waste to landfill at a cost of around £1.2 million. Through our initiatives to tackle this, we are proud to say that since 2013 we have maintained a zero waste to landfill status. We have achieved this by focusing on reducing the amount of waste we generate, recycling wherever possible and managing unavoidable waste better to avoid landfill.   

For example, we have recently started to send pallet labelling reel backing paper and Bisto lidding waste to be turned into animal bedding, and we are in the process of eliminating where possible single use plastics in our canteens, offices and meeting rooms.