By Daniel Hunter

Independent figures, prepared for the Government, confirm that retailers are continuing to achieve excellent progress on meeting challenging waste and packaging targets.

The assessment, published today (Thursday) by resource efficiency delivery body WRAP, is a clear demonstration of retailers' commitment to meeting their environmental responsibilities, said the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The study examines retailers' performance on the second phase of the Courtauld Commitment which runs from 2010 to December 2012 and sets specific targets for reducing:

- Grocery packaging
- Waste in retail supply chains
- Household food and drink waste

Meeting these targets shows retailers are using their influence positively to tackle the two key areas of waste; waste from farm to shelf and waste in the home.

The findings reveal supply chain waste is 8.8 per cent down on the base year of 2009 — way ahead of the five per cent reduction target. The 10 per cent reduction in the carbon impact of packaging, to be achieved over the three years, is three-quarters of the way to being met.

"These are great results against ambitious targets. This independent assessment shows food retailers are successfully working with their suppliers and customers to reduce waste and achieve major environmental gains," British Retail Consortium Food and Sustainability Director, Andrew Opie said.

"Preventing waste is the key aim and a vital part of a sustainable supply chain. Recycling is good but dramatically more resources are saved by not producing that material in the first place.

"Environmental improvement is embedded in our members' businesses who will continue to deliver long term sustainable progress on the biggest concerns and not be distracted by peripheral issues such as carrier bags."

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