Experts at Ricardo are helping the EU food manufacturing industry to play its part in reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 with the publication of a new report.
Decarbonisation Roadmap for the Food and Drink Manufacturing Sector, which was commissioned by FoodDrinkEurope, states that food production from farm-to-fork represents 30 per cent of total carbon emissions within the EU, with the manufacturing process accounting for 11 per cent of this total.
Decarbonisation of the food manufacturing sector can make a significant contribution to the EU carbon neutrality target.
Lead author and Ricardo director Alfredo Lopez Carretero said: “Businesses should start with setting an emissions baseline and selecting a tool that will guide them in their decision-making process.
“Most plants will need to take decarbonisation measures relating to both energy demand and energy supply and this roadmap provides information on more than 90 measures to do this.
“We also note barriers that must be overcome. For instance, an unstable policy environment does not help companies working on long-term investments. The cost of infrastructure to enable carbon reductions can often be prohibitive, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. Also, many of the technologies required to reach net-zero are immature and not yet economically viable.
“Overall, we hope this report will facilitate dialogue between industry and policymakers, to assist with this challenging transition.”
Laura Degallaix, FoodDrinkEurope Director for Environmental Sustainability, said: “This report is a major step to helping our members plot the path to get to net-zero emissions.
“We are in a climate emergency, and we must tackle it with the urgency it demands. That’s why earlier this week FoodDrinkEurope signed the EU’s ground-breaking farm-to-fork Code of Conduct in which food chain actors are together committed to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
“We will now work with our members to translate the report into action on the ground. It will be especially important to work with EU and national policymakers to develop an enabling environment, including financial support mechanisms which will be especially important for SMEs.”
Silviu Popovici, PepsiCo’s CEO Europe and FoodDrinkEurope Vice-President, said there was no time to waste.
“There is no vaccine for climate change. I am very proud of the food and drink sector working together to decarbonise our industry. Only collective action will have the scale to halt climate change.”
Publication of this report follows similar projects with the UK water industry and Surrey Police.