Delivering environmental improvements

We're continually looking to bring together industry partners and organisations, and our internal colleagues, to reduce our environmental footprint.

In 2016/17 we set challenging targets for each of our sites to reduce their energy, water, waste and carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2(e)) emissions. We encourage all of our colleagues to play their part through our ‘Green Matters’ initiative, an internal environmental campaign which has seen the identification and training of 54 Environmental Champions across our business, who have helped deliver a reduction in CO2(e) per tonne at eight out of nine sites (see case study below for more information), bringing our overall reduction to 10.2% compared to the previous year.

Higher production volumes meant our non-ingredient water usage was higher in the period, although overall usage intensity on a per tonne basis reduced by 3.6% through greater investment in leak prevention and improved clean down practices, particularly at our bakeries.

During the year, we also successfully completed the certification of all our manufacturing sites (ex Knighton Foods) to meet globally recognised standards of environmental management through ISO 14001. 

We are also proud signatories of WRAP's Courtauld 2025, an ambitious ten year voluntary commitment that brings together organisations across our sector to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable (see case study below for more).

Courtauld-Wrap-2025-logo.jpgAnd throughout the last couple of years, we've achieved and maintained a major goal in ensuring we send zero waste to landfill from any of our manufacturing sites. We also reduced the amount of waste sent for incineration by 6.9% as a result of improved segregation and awareness.
As a company, we strive to manufacture using sustainability principles and always seeks to reduce packaging and encourage recycling. This means that all of our products are packed in a way that balances food safety, freshness and taste, with shelf-life convenience and environmental sustainability. Plastic plays an important role:
  • It protects our products and keeps them fresh
  • Plastic is light and so reduces food miles
  • Plastic acts as an effective barrier, protecting shelf-life
Across our entire portfolio, less than a third of our packaging is plastic and 70% of the packaging is recyclable, according to current WRAP on pack recycling labelling guidelines.
We've removed over 240 tonnes of plastic materials from our packaging portfolio in the last three years and as a business, plans  to reach 320 tonnes by the end of 2018.
we're  proud to be a founder member of both Courtauld 2025 and the UK Plastics Pact. Together by 2025, these initiatives aim to:
  • 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

The below chart sets out our environmental performance for the year on a per tonne basis. 


2016/17 Target 2016/17 Performance
Reduce waste to incineration by 1.5% -6.9%
Reduce energy consumption per tonne by 1.5% -6.0%
Reduce non-ingredient water usage per tonne by 1.5% -3.6%
Reduce carbon equivalent C02 emissions per tonne by 1.5% -10.2%


  2016/17 2015/16
Total energy usage (Gigawatts) 272 275
Total (non-ingredient) water usage (Megalitres) 724 704
C02 (e) emissions (Metric tonnes) 75,383 79,611

Looking ahead, we will be moving from reporting against annual targets to reporting progress against longer-term goals aligned with the various commitments we’ve made to industry programmes such as the Food and Drink Federation’s 2025 Ambition and the Courtauld 2025 commitment on food waste. These also reflect our formal obligations under the Climate Change Agreement, Carbon Reduction Commitment and European Union Emissions Trading Scheme. 

The table below outlines the longer term targets against which we will be tracking our own progress: 
red-petal-small.png CO2 Emissions
Target: Achieve a 55% absolute reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025 against the 1990 baseline.
red-petal-small.png Waste
Target: Send zero food waste to landfill and reduce food waste within our operations.
red-petal-small.png 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.
red-petal-small.png 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 20% by 2020 compared to 2007.
red-petal-small.png Transport
Target: Reduce the environmental impact of our members' 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.

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

In 2015 we set up a Green Matters scheme in partnership with the Woodland Trust and set ourselves ambitious targets to reduce our carbon emissions. We appointed Environmental Champions at each of our sites to drive the scheme and pledged to plant 25 sqm of trees for every tonne of carbon we reduced our emissions by.

We were delighted to exceed our target in 2016/17 and reduce our carbon equivalent CO2 emissions per tonne by 10.2%. As a result, in 2017 the Woodland Trust will plant almost 12 acres of new woodland across the UK on our behalf, which will contribute to removing close to 2,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere. Combined with our achievements in 2015/16, this means that the trees planted as part of our Green Matters scheme will remove a total of nearly 2,750 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere.

Reducing our carbon emissions wasn't our only achievement. Through Green Matters we also used 6.0% less energy per tonne, 3.6% less non-ingredient water per tonne, and sent 6.9% less waste to incineration last year. 



Case Study: Achieving our zero waste to landfill ambition  

The grocery industry is responsible for more than 6 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 damaging greenhouse gases such as methane, and a financial cost to businesses and households. 

In 2010 we were sending more than 10,000 tonnes of waste to landfill at a cost of around £1.2 million. We're proud to say that we now send zero waste to landfill. We achieved this by focusing on reducing the amount of waste we generated and managing unavoidable waste better to avoid landfill.  


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.

A long 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.

Consumer thoughts

"(Loyd Grossman) These all look wonderful. I think that the Porcini and Mascarpone will be first on my to try list." Source: Twitter

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Playing our part

Caring for the environment, and building trust in our supply chain.

Our part