Scottish food and drinks firms are being urged to abide by the country’s first industry-wide sustainability strategy.

The document ‘Making the Link – How Sustainability Equals Success’, was launched by Scotland Food & Drink this week and sets out ways companies can build sustainable practices into their organisations. 

Recommendations include finding ways to use less water and returning it to rivers, lochs and seas in as clean a state as possible, reviewing production processes to ensure they are energy efficient, and reducing packaging and using more recycled material.

Firms are also advised to develop sustainable transport management by consolidating lorry-load consignments, minimising empty backloads, running more fuel-efficient transport fleets and giving more thought to the location of depots.

“A commitment to sustainability is the mark of a progressive industry and this is the first collaborative strategy with the input of all food and drink sectors,” James Withers, Scotland Food & Drink chief executive said. “Being sustainable means two things for the industry: a significant and growing contribution to the Scottish economy and responsible stewardship of our environment to the benefit of our reputation and growth.”

Iain Gulland, director of Zero Waste Scotland added: “With the introduction of new Waste (Scotland) Regulations next year, and the third stage of the Courtauld Commitment set to launch this spring, there’s never been a more important time to consider the way the industry views waste – seeing it not as a problem to be dealt with, but as a valuable resource which could reduce bottom line costs and help customers’ expectations around sustainability.”