Retailers and suppliers face tough new targets to cut packaging and carbon over the next two years as the second phase of the Courtauld Commitment comes into effect.

Courtauld II aims to reduce by 10% the carbon generated across the industry, although individual signatories are not all expected to meet the goal.

The first stage of the government’s voluntary agreement, reached in 2005, set targets to stall the growth in excess packaging. It has more than 40 signatories, including Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer.

“A fifth of household waste is packaging, and more than half of this comes from the groceries we buy,” said environment secretary Hilary Benn.

“This packaging can be essential but in many cases using less and smarter packaging can achieve the same result.”

Benn added: “Grocery manufacturers and retailers have already started to take action and have halted the increase in packaging.  The new commitment sees them go further than ever in reducing food waste and packaging – and I want to see members of the industry continuing to sign-up over the coming months.”

Wrap estimates that six million tonnes of household waste are dumped every year from the grocery trade.

Courtauld III will be unveiled in 2012.

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