Noble courtauld commitment

Source: Noble Foods

The agreement is supposed to help businesses move beyond water management to water stewardship 

Noble Foods has joined sustainability initiative the Water Roadmap to protect critical water resources for food supply, nature and local communities.

The Water Roadmap is part of the Courtauld Commitment 2030, a voluntary agreement from climate action NGO Wrap designed to reduce food waste, greenhouse gas emissions and water stress in the UK food supply chain. It has also been signed by Avara and Moy Park, among others.

The agreement is supposed to help businesses move beyond water management to water stewardship and sets out the need for cross-sector collaboration by providing a practical framework for businesses to act and work collectively to enhance water security.

As part of Noble Foods’ new Water Roadmap pledge, the company has committed to improving security of food and drink supply.

“As the UK’s largest egg supplier, we have a responsibility to lead the way for our sector and to do the right thing by our many producers all over the UK,” said Glenn Evans, environmental health and safety manager at Noble.

The Water Roadmap has an overall target that by 2030, 50% of fresh food is sourced from areas with sustainable water management.

“As a group of food and drink businesses, we can achieve much more than we can individually and we recognise that water risks can be reduced by using nature-based solutions, which have multiple benefits including increased carbon storage, reduced soil loss and improving biodiversity,” added Evans. 

Noble Foods committed to working in one of the Water Roadmap’s priority areas – the Wye & Usk in the Welsh borders.

The company worked with local charity the Wye & Usk Foundation to trial a series of wetland pools to monitor reductions in phosphate levels.

In July last year, Tesco was threatened with potential legal action over the alleged pollution of the River Wye by two of its key suppliers, Noble Foods and Avara Foods.

At the time, a spokesman for Noble Foods insisted the supplier took its environmental obligations seriously “especially in the Wye & Usk region – where we’re helping each of our producers take positive action”.

He added the business was “supplied by family-run farms in the region, which represent a low single-digit percentage of the poultry flock in the area”. But “despite our small footprint, as the UK’s largest egg producer we have a responsibility to lead the way for our industry”.

The Water Roadmap commitment involves setting targets for addressing water risk in the business and reporting on progress, mapping where the water risk hotspots are and joining collective action projects which improve water stewardship on the ground.

“We are thrilled to welcome Noble Foods to our Water Roadmap at such a critical time,” said Wrap senior specialist Rowen West-Henzell. “They join 56 leading UK food and drink companies who are committed to taking individual and collective action to address water scarcity and pollution in high-risk catchments like the Wye & Usk.”