A group of some of the world’s largest food and drinks manufacturers, including Mars; Mondelez and PepsiCo, have halved their carbon emissions, according to a new study by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).

The FDF report found that carbon emissions of its members fell by 50% compared to the baseline set in 1990. The new findings indicate significant progress from a previous study conducted in 2014, which recorded a reduction in emissions of 44%.

The target laid out in the new report is to ’achieve a 55% absolute reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025 against a 1990 baseline.’

Part of the reason for the reduction was a more efficient manufacturing process, and an increased focus on energy efficiency and decarbonisation in certain sectors. However, the FDF also found that a decline in production across some areas was also partly responsible.

Regarding the development, FDF chief scientific officer Helen Munday said: “The food and drink manufacturing industry continues to deliver progress against our environmental ambitions.”

A spokesperson from Mondelēz commented: “We’ve adopted science-based targets to reduce absolute manufacturing CO2 emissions as part of our ambitious end to end approach that also includes reducing deforestation in our agricultural supply chains and eliminating packaging.” This includes an absolute reduction of manufacturing CO2 emissions by 15% by 2020, with Mondelēz expecting to reduce CO2 emissions for 240,000 tonnes per year.

“Also implementing deforestation interventions in key agriculture supply programs, such as Cocoa Life, and will be publicly reporting the resulting end-to-end carbon footprint reduction.” Deforestation remains the biggest contributor to the company’s carbon footprint.

Going forward – Ambition 2025

The FDF also publicly released its Sustainability Resource hub, including a comprehensive Ambition 2025 plan to promote environmental and sustainability objectives. The hub now provides public information on voluntary certifications, collaborative platforms and practical tools available to food and drink manufactures wishing to improve their sustainability credentials.

“The Sustainability Resource Hub is the next step on our journey to support a shift towards integrating sustainable sourcing into decision making at all levels throughout the supply chain and achieving our Ambition 2025,” said Munday, “We hope this tool will provide companies, particularly small-to-medium sized ones, with practical guidance to contribute to their sustainability goals.”

Other commitments laid out in the Ambition 2025 plan include a ‘zero food waste to landfill’ objective commencing in 2016, as well as a reduction in food waste across the whole supply chain.  Current figures show that less than 0.1% of food and packaging waste is being sent to landfill by its members.

A related report conducted by technology company Emerson found that a transition to low Global Warming Potential refrigerants could save European retailers €50,000 per system, which could equate to more than €500 million over ten years.

The necessity to update refrigeration systems comes in the wake of EU and global regulations to reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons, which contribute to global warming.