Coca-Cola and Britvic, along with half of the United Kingdom’s foremost soft drink producers and suppliers, have joined the Soft Drinks Sustainability Roadmap, a supply chain study designed to reduce the environmental footprint of soft drink products.
The roadmap claims to be the first to outline the £1.3 billion (nearly $2 billion) UK soft drinks sector’s effect on the environment and offer recommendations on how the impact can be reduced. The report offers infographics that summarize this information across the entire soft drinks supply chain, from raw material production to end of life.
Based on analysis by consultancy firm Best Foot Forward, the roadmap concluded the UK soft drinks industry supply chain emits 4.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.
The study also highlights the five primary impacts the soft drinks industry has on the environment, which includes growing and processing fruit and sugar, packaging materials, refrigeration of goods, supply chain waste production and water scarcity.
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The roadmap recommends improving refrigeration to boost energy efficiency, reducing the amount of water used in manufacturing to help limit consumption and save money and using low carbon fertilizer to reduce the footprint of fruit-based soft drinks by 20 percent. The study also calls for increased cooperation among manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and waste management companies to improve recyclability and recycling of packaging by consumers.
The UK government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) launched the roadmap this week during a conference in London. Defra expects another 25 percent of the soft drinks industry to join the voluntary agreement by year’s end.
Earlier this year, Coca-Cola and Sainsbury’s were among the first companies to be awarded the Carbon Trust Water Standard, which is awarded to organizations that measure water input from mains supply, surface and groundwater abstraction and rainwater collection; measure water output as a trade effluent; attain a minimum score of 60 percent on a qualitative water governance, measurement and management assessment; and show long-term reductions in water inputs and wastewater.