Food industry renews commitment to materials efficiency with restaurant sector now included
The food industry has renewed its commitment to materials efficiency to promote more sustainable food production, distribution and consumption in 2022–2026. The Finnish Food and Drink Industries’ Federation, the Finnish Grocery Trade Association and the Finnish Hospitality Association MaRa have signed the commitment together with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of the Environment.
During the first period in 2019–2021, the 17 companies that joined the commitment succeeded in reducing food and other waste, the use of plastics as well as greenhouse gas emissions. The results were achieved by improving the efficiency of processes, utilising side streams and increasing the recycling rate. These excellent results have encouraged operators to sign the commitment in the new agreement period. The restaurant sector will be a new signatory, which will further increase the impact of the commitment.
The food industry companies aim to achieve sector-specific economic and environmental benefits through practical measures on materials efficiency. At the same time, awareness of the means and benefits of materials efficiency will be raised among consumers and throughout the food production chain.
The aim is that by the end of 2024, companies that have signed the commitment will represent 90%, 40% and 20% of the turnover of the member companies in the Finnish Grocery Trade Association, the Finnish Food and Drink Industries’ Federation and the Finnish Hospitality Association MaRa, respectively.
“Commitments to materials efficiency are a great example of voluntary cooperation between the business community and central government. It became evident already in the first agreement period that reducing the environmental impacts of food production, distribution and consumption is compatible with improving competitiveness of businesses,” says Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä.
“This would not be possible if all parties to the commitment did not benefit from it. I am confident that the new agreement period will be a success too. I am pleased to welcome the restaurant sector to the commitment to improve materials efficiency,” Lintilä adds.
Commitment to promote the circular economy
The materials efficiency commitment is an operating model used to implement several national and international environmental objectives.
“The voluntary measures of the food sector’s materials efficiency commitment show that the food industry, consumer goods trade and restaurants are actively leading the way in this matter. These measures will promote national sustainability goals, such as halving food waste by 2030. It is possible to achieve significant economic and environmental benefits that also improve the profitability and competitiveness of companies,” says Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppä.
The company will select its own materials efficiency measures and goals. For example, companies can commit to cutting food and other waste, improving materials efficiency through product, packaging and service design, and developing the use of side streams.
“The commitment offers businesses the opportunity to be responsible players in taking the lead in environmental issues. More efficient use of materials also increases company profits. Hopefully, companies in the sectors will join the commitment and in that way help Finland become a carbon neutral society with a circular economy,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Emma Kari.
Mika Honkanen, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 506 4904, mika.honkanen(at)gov.fi
Sirje Sten, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 29 525 0276, sirje.sten(at)gov.fi
Petri Koskela, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, tel. +358 29 516 2382, petri.koskela(at)gov.fi
Elina Fast, Specialist, Motiva Oy, tel. +358 40 053 1526, elina.fast(at)motiva.fi
Ilkka Nieminen, Director, Finnish Grocery Trade Association, tel. +358 50 042 2216, ilkka.nieminen(at)pty.fi
Marleena Tanhuanpää, Director, Finnish Food and Drink Industries’ Federation, tel. +358 40 528 2207, marleena.tanhuanpaa(at)etl.fi
Veli-Matti Aittoniemi, Deputy Managing Director, tel. +358 40 736 7705, veli-matti.aittoniemi(at)mara.fi