The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October to 12 November 2021.

The COP26 summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The UK wants to secure commitments towards global Net Zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach, along with the protection of communities and natural habitats. They recognise that to achieve these goals we need to mobilise finance and work together to deliver.

The global food system contributes to over a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions with the impacts of climate change already evident. Discussions at this scale will set the path for a global food system that is sustainable, resilient and fit for the future.

What does this mean for the food and drink sector in the UK?

In April 2021, the FDF announced an ambition for the UK’s food and drink manufacturing sector to reach Net Zero emissions by 2040. This is aligned to ambitions shown elsewhere in the supply chain, including those by the National Farmers Union (NFU) and the British Retail Consortium (BRC). For more information, you can watch our webinar The road to Net Zero for food and drink.

We will be using COP26 as a springboard to further build momentum on coordinated actions across the farm-to-fork supply chain, helping the sector to reduce its carbon footprint on the pathway to Net Zero. This will include the publication of our Net Zero Roadmap and handbook which provides practical advice to businesses.

As COP26 approaches, the FDF will also be working more closely with the supply chain, including through a new Net Zero Working Group that has been set up with the Food and Drink Sector Council (FDSC).

When will the FDF Handbook for Net Zero be launched at COP26?

On the 9 November, the FDF will launch our Net Zero Roadmap. This will include:

  • An executive summary report, intended for a wide set of stakeholders including government
  • A handbook for food and drink manufacturers to help them understand and act on decarbonisation and achieving Net Zero

The document contents will be underpinned and informed by the creation of a greenhouse gas model of the sector. The handbook will include chapters on ingredients, packaging, manufacturing, distribution and storage, customers and carbon offsetting.

We will host a webinar on 18 November with the consultants 3Keel to have a detailed work through of the Net Zero handbook’s chapters. If you would like to learn more, you can register here.

What presence will the FDF have at COP26?

In Glasgow, the FDF have two events planned:

  • 8 November – we will have a private dinner policy roundtable sponsored by Lloyds Bank with senior ministers, parliamentarians, industry stakeholders, along with food and drink company CEOs invited. The dinner discussion will be based around the role the global food and drink industry can play in helping to meet environmental and sustainability targets.
  • 9 November – FDF Scotland will be hosting a drinks reception in Glasgow city centre showcasing the Scottish (and UK) food and drink industry.  Guests will include ministers, parliamentarians, industry stakeholders, diplomats, as well as the many representatives of FDF members present in Glasgow.

What have the FDF and its members have achieved so far?

In December 2020, the FDF undertook a Net Zero Narrative Project to understand where the food and drink manufacturing sector was on the journey to Net Zero. The findings from the project have informed our 2021 work programme; this has included a series of webinars on key knowledge gaps, increasing support for SME businesses and working with WRAP on support to measure scope 3 emissions. This builds on our Decarbonisation of heat across the food and drink manufacturing sector report, which will be one of the key challenges for the food and drink manufacturing sector as we move towards net zero.

The FDF’s environmental ambition, Ambition 2025 includes targets on CO2 emissions, water, food waste, packaging, transport, sustainable supply chains and natural capital. In our latest Ambition 2025 Progress Report, we were able to report that members achieved an absolute reduction of 55.5% in CO2 emissions from their use of energy operations in manufacturing operations in 2019, compared to the 1990 baseline, exceeding the 2025 target five years early. As such, we updated our Ambition 2025 to ensure that it reflected the progress and growing ambition of the food and drink manufacturing sector.

FDF Environmental Leadership Award – Entries are now open!

Does your company have a leading environmental initiative?

The FDF Environmental Leadership awards category is for companies that can meet either of the criteria below:

  • Embedding sustainability throughout a product from development right through to customer use and disposal
  • Ground-breaking initiatives to reduce your company's impact on the planet

Enter before the closing date of 28 February 2022, for your chance to win. It’s completely free to enter!

View the full criteria

Find out more about the FDF Awards

The FDF launches Achieving Net Zero handbook

Following the announcement of our ambition for the food and drink sector to reach Net Zero emissions by 2040, the FDF has today launched its Handbook to help food and drink manufacturers on their journeys to Net Zero.

The achievement of our ambition will require significant changes across the sector; we will need to decarbonise rapidly while continuing to feed the nation an affordable, varied and healthy diet.

The 'Achieving Net Zero' handbook outlines how the FDF and the food and drink sector can address these challenges, and provides guidance for food and drink manufacturers, particularly those at the early stages of developing their climate strategy. 

The core of this Handbook on value chain stages presents practical actions and information for each stage of the chain from farm to fork. Supporting information for each stage provides the context for action, and signposting to useful further resources available online.

The Handbook has been released alongside the Roadmap for Net Zero Overview which summarises the business case for climate action and is aimed at wider stakeholders.



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How we can help your business

Net Zero Roadmap Handbook

Launched at COP26, this handbook guides manufacturers on actions to reduce the embodied carbon emissions of their products towards Net Zero

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Net Zero Roadmap Handbook

Webinar: The road to Net Zero for Food and Drink

27 April 2021

View the recording of this webinar which officially launched our 2021 work programme with a key note address from the UK Government’s Net Zero Business Champion, Andrew Griffith MP.

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Report: Decarbonisation of heat

10 June 2020

Launched in June 2020, this report outlines how carbon emissions from heat generation in food and drink Manufacturing can be reduced to Net Zero.

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Decarbonisation of heat

Report: FDF's Ambition 2025: Mid-term report 2020

24 February 2021

This report highlights our continued commitment to making a real contribution with sustainability and environmental initiatives, showcasing our new commitments to continue to build on our achievements to ensure our overall ambition of a more sustainable food and drink industry.

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Our focus

Report: FDF's Ambition 2025: Progress report 2020

24 February 2021

The FDF and our members remain committed to the sustainability agenda and delivering environmental improvements across all areas of our Ambition.

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Our focus

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