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Courtauld Commitment

A quick guide factsheet to the Courtauld Commitment, a voluntary agreement between WRAP and the food and beverage retail sector

About this article

- Background
- Targets
- Signatories
- Benefits
- Results
- Next steps

 Background to the Courtauld Commitment

The Courtauld Commitment is a voluntary agreement between WRAP and the food and beverage retail sector with a focus on improving resource efficiency. The Courtauld Commitment looks at new solutions and technologies so that less food, products and packaging end up as household waste.

The Courtauld Commitment first took shape at a ministerial summit in 2005, attended by government, WRAP and senior representatives from a majority of the leading UK food and beverage retailers.

In July 2005, the Courtauld Commitment was launched by WRAP to demonstrate retailer commitment to waste minimisation.


Signatories to the Courtauld Commitment pledged their commitment at an executive level to support WRAP in achieving the following targets:

  • To design out growth in packaging waste by 2008
  • To deliver absolute reductions in packaging waste by 2010
  • To help reduce the amount of food the nation's householders throw away by 155,000 tonnes by 2010, against a 2008 baseline.

(Source: WRAP)


Initially 13 retailers, representing 92% of the UK food and beverage market, signed up: Asda, Boots, Budgens, the Co-operative Group, Londis, Iceland, Kwik Save, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Somerfield, Tesco and Waitrose.

To date, more than 40 major retailers, brands, manufacturers and suppliers have signed the agreement. On joining the initiative, every signatory pledged to meet the targets set and some developed their own. To learn more about the packaging reduction targets of individual companies, view their corporate social responsibility reports here.

A list of signatories to the Courtauld Commitment can be viewed here: Courtauld Commitment signatories

Benefits of the Courtauld Commitment

WRAP identified the following as key benefits of volunteering to support the Courtauld Commitment:

  • Meeting consumer expectations by reducing household waste
  • Improving industry practice
  • Creating a vehicle for change


The Courtauld Commitment has succeeded in stopping growth in packaging waste in spite of an increase in both product sales and population in the UK. According to WRAP, half a million tonnes less packaging was used in the period 2005 to 2009, which equates to enough waste to fill a queue of refuse trucks, bumper-to-bumper, stretching from Southampton to Newcastle.

Find out how Courtauld Commitment signatories have made reductions in packaging and household waste by viewing their case studies at the following link: CC Case Studies, 03 Mar 10 final

Next steps

With the Courtauld Commitment coming to an end in 2010, WRAP and the food and beverage industry have created a successor, called Courtauld Commitment Phase 2.

*WRAP was established as a not-for-profit company in 2000, and is backed by government funding from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. WRAP’s aim is a world without waste, where resources are used sustainably. It works with businesses and individuals to help them reap the rewards of reducing waste, develop sustainable products and use resources in an efficient way.

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