Sustainability Commitment

AFGC Sustainability Commitment

AFGC’s Sustainability Commitment is a ten year strategy that sets clear objectives, targets, metrics and case studies that will shape the future direction of the food and grocery manufacturing industry’s performance across water, energy and emissions, packaging and social and sourcing indicators.

The Sustainability Commitment is a new industry-wide approach that builds on the existing achievements of individual food and grocery manufacturing companies while providing a common direction and pathway to sustainability, driving improvements in a collaborative and constructive way. This approach engages small and medium enterprises as well as large companies.

Future annual reporting against the Sustainability Commitment’s baseline metrics will enable AFGC to proactively and clearly communicate the food and grocery manufacturing industry’s journey towards an increasingly sustainable future.

Sustainability Commitment Update 2011-12

Sustainability Commitment overview

Why AFGC developed the Sustainability Commitment

The food and grocery manufacturing industry is facing a multitude of new and complex sustainability challenges and opportunities arising from issues such as:

  • changing environmental and social values within the community and government
  • changing consumer preferences and increased consumer awareness of issues such as ethical sourcing
  • new government policies and regulation such as the Australian Government’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the introduction of a carbon tax
  • calls for greater transparency about manufacturers’ environmental credentials
  • rising energy costs, which emphasises the need for increased investment to improve energy efficiency
  • availability of new technologies and approaches to packaging design and recycling
  • impact of climate change on the availability of water
  • a need to work more collaboratively across the supply chain - with retailers, food service customers and suppliers.

The food and grocery manufacturing industry recognises the need to respond to these issues and reflect changing values and consumer preferences around sustainability into their business as usual models. Industry understands that, despite tough economic and market conditions, it needs to make a greater level of commitment to sustainability.

To harness the industry’s sustainability plans within a strategic framework, AFGC has developed the Sustainability Commitment as a new industry-wide approach that provides strong, proactive leadership underpinned by sound metrics, a common direction and industry collaboration.

Future directions

The next, and in many ways more important, part of the journey will be to harness the commitment and enthusiasm of our members and turn it into concrete actions that move the industry towards achieving the ambitious targets contained in the Sustainability Commitment. Linked to this is the need for all AFGC members to learn from one another so they can adopt best practice approaches to not only new technologies but, more importantly, new ways of embedding sustainability into corporate decision making.

For the AFGC, our future will entail using the Sustainability Commitment as a framework for developing policy positions and initiatives across the industry. Some of the main areas of activity in the coming years will include:

  • Engaging with government through the National Food Plan and National Waste Policy
  • Assisting members to reduce their energy consumption through new technology and processes
  • Improving education on packaging recyclability and how best to dispose
  • Developing new product stewardship initiatives in relation to flexible plastic recycling
  • Working with the industry to move to more sustainable palm oil options

Media coverage of AFGC's Sustainability Commitment

AFGC's Director of Sutainability and Trade Tanya Barden discusses the Commitment with Ben Cooper at JustFood.com