Amendment 149

Environment Bill - Committee (5th Day) – in the House of Lords at 3:30 pm on 5th July 2021.

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Baroness Boycott:

Moved by Baroness Boycott

149: After Clause 62, insert the following new Clause—“Food waste(1) This section applies to a retailer who—(a) generates more than 10 tons of food waste per year, or (b) operates stores which with a floor area of more than 400 metres squared.(2) A retailer to whom this section applies must recycle wasted food products, having regard to the following steps listed in order of priority—(a) preventing food waste (for example, by not ordering more of a food product than they expect to sell);(b) using unsold food which is fit for human consumption (for example, through food donation or processing);(c) recovering unsold food which is fit for animal consumption into feedstock;(d) converting food waste into compost for agriculture or for energy recovery, including biogas.(3) A retailer to whom this section applies must make an agreement in relation to each store which it operates with at least one charitable organisation which distributes donated food, having taken reasonable steps to ascertain that the charitable organisation uses appropriate processes to distribute food through a clearly advertised address.(4) A local authority may impose a financial penalty on a retailer in relation to a store within its area if the authority is satisfied beyond reasonable that the person has breached subsection (2) or (3).(5) The amount of the financial penalty is to be such amount as the authority determines but not to be more than £5,000.(6) A retailer to whom this section applies or a large food manufacturer must disclose to the Secretary of State the volume of food waste in their supply chain.(7) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision about the requirement in subsection (6), including the definition of “a large food manufacturer” and what details must be disclosed and to whom.(8) The Secretary of State must make regular reports to Parliament about the volume of food waste being reported under subsection (6).(9) The Secretary of State must consult those likely to be affected by this section before making regulations under this section.(10) The Secretary of State must ensure that the volume of food being wasted is at least—(a) 60% lower than the 2020 baseline for 2025;(b) 80% lower than the 2020 baseline for 2030.(11) The Secretary of State must conduct a public education campaign on the issues caused by food waste including but not limited to—(a) climate change, and(b) biodiversity loss.(12) In this section—“food waste” and “food waste reduction” are to be defined by the Secretary of State by regulations, taking account of such terms as have been validated by or are in accordance with—(a) the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,(b) the Waste and Resources Action Programme, and(c) the waste hierarchy as set out in the Waste (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (SI 2011/988) and Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 (SI 2012/1889), save that methods of “food waste reduction” for the purposes of this section may not include any form of waste disposal. “retailer” means any person carrying on (or actively seeking to carry on) a business in any part of the United Kingdom for the supply of groceries to consumers.”

Photo of Baroness Boycott Baroness Boycott Crossbench

My Lords, I really wish that I was not having to move this amendment. I speak as the chair of Feeding Britain, and all through this pandemic we have been giving out meals to an extraordinary amount of people—the numbers have doubled. We have got food from many different food redistribution companies, notably companies such as FareShare and individual supermarkets. Many supermarkets have stepped up to the challenge over the last 18 months and have given away a great deal more food, but there are still lapses in the system. This is, essentially, an extremely simple amendment that just says that big supermarkets must, by law, have a relationship with a food redistribution centre. This was introduced a few years back by Kerry McCarthy in the other place. Indeed, the now Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Goldsmith, signed her 10-minute rule Bill supporting this idea, and such a proposal is now law in France.

We have just been listening to lots of statistics about waste. The most recent one that I have found is that the UK’s biggest supermarkets bin 190 million meals a year. Is that true? I do not know, but it comes from WRAP. My guess is that it is true, and that a lot of food that is up to its sell-by date but still perfectly edible is chucked out the door. That is really what I want to see changed—and I want it to change culturally. At the moment, food is very cheap; I want people to see that it has a value and importance. In the end, with this amendment, as the chair of Feeding Britain, I would like us all to be put of business; at the moment, we are not out of business and are, in fact, incredibly needed. As people come off furlough, the numbers who are using Feeding Britain feeding sites are rising, not going down.

One of the other things that I talk about in this amendment is that we need to get to the food waste pyramid. Food should always be thought of as food for humans: if it has not been sold, it must go for donation; if we cannot eat it, it should feed an animal; and if that cannot happen, it should feed the soil. There is a very exact pyramid to show the way that this works.

The amendment also seeks penalties for retailers which do not do this and to ensure that the volume of food being wasted is at least—and this is where I challenge the Government, because I know that this is above their targets—60% lower than the 2020 baseline for 2025 and 80% lower than the 2020 baseline for 2030.

I did not make this up. I consulted Dave Lewis who, from 2014 until last year, ran Tesco. I asked him what it would take, what we can do, who we can push, and what we can achieve. He came back with these figures. I know the figures will be repeated in the food strategy, so this is doable and challenging. As we all know, this is the year of COP. Food waste is responsible for so much: relevant to the last group of amendments, food waste is the reason we have so much plastic floating around. All these things connect. It is about getting the public to understand that food is valuable and plastic is valuable, and therefore must not be thrown away. We need to do it in the right way.

My other point in this amendment is that the Secretary of State must conduct a public education campaign around the question of food waste and making people understand that, every time we throw food away, we are adding to our environmental problems. As many noble Lords have just said, throwing food away with the plastic adds to all sorts of environment and social problems, but food itself costs air, soil and energy. As the Dasgupta reported showed, these things are valuable and valuable to our society.

I hope that at least part of this quite long amendment will be taken up by the Government. There are currently 13 million people in this country, mostly kids, who are what you could call food-stressed—they do not have enough food and cannot afford enough healthy food. If you want to eat 1,000 healthy calories, it costs about five times more than it does to eat 1,000 unhealthy calories. Much of the food that hits its sell-by date is good, proper food. It has been grown, processed and packaged; a lot has gone into it and we chuck it. We could, very easily—and culturally it would be a big deal—just put this amendment in the Bill and be like the French. Their food recycling went up immediately by 20%—that is a lot of meals.

Photo of The Earl of Caithness The Earl of Caithness Conservative 3:45 pm, 5th July 2021

My Lords, I am very happy to put my name to the noble Baroness’s amendment. She has moved it extremely well and there is very little for me to add, except to say that I want to go a bit further than she does. Therefore, I have also tabled Amendment 149A in my own name, which focuses specifically on supermarkets.

Noble Lords might very well ask why I am focusing on supermarkets when they have very little waste. I am focusing on them because I want supermarkets to take responsibility for their supply chains, and not just the food on their premises. To do this, we need mandatory reporting at farm level, which is currently not reported at all, and could account for as much as 25% of all UK food waste. Transparent reporting will reduce the food waste by big retailers, benefitting the environment, the climate and natural resources. A levy ought to be charged on supermarkets proportional to the food waste in the UK supply chains.

Why is mandatory reporting so important? There has been voluntary reporting, but it does not work; the firms are not reporting. Only 60 companies are reporting their data publicly, and more than 500 large companies are not reporting at all. It has to be mandatory reporting. The targets also need looking at because, under the voluntary commitments, UK food businesses have carefully achieved measurable food waste reductions of just 0.23 million tonnes between 2011 and 2018. It is estimated that between 3.78 million and 6.38 million tonnes of food waste occurs in primary production, manufacturing, retail, and hospitality and food services. The saving that has happened—which everyone will praise—is less than 1% a year. That is not satisfactory; that is not good.

The Government’s timetable is slow. It could be speeded up, and I recommend that it is. The Government have been inactive for far too long. Indeed, Tesco itself says that mandatory reporting and a speeded-up programme are absolutely vital to meet sustainable development goal 12.3. My amendment is an important addition to the one moved by my friend the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott. In conclusion, it is worth just pausing to think that Tesco makes £4 billion annual profit from food that its customers waste at home. The point of my amendment is to try to reduce that.

Photo of Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Conservative

I am delighted to follow my noble friend and I support both him and the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, in the sentiments behind their amendments. In looking at the factsheet that was circulated by the department in connection with this Bill, I welcome the fact that the Government are minded to introduce regulations to, in the words of the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, move food waste further up the hierarchy, so that there will be less left at the end. I particularly welcome the two amendments in this group as probing amendments, and ask my noble friend: is there not a degree of urgency that we need to do this?

I may have one point of disagreement with the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott. She and I both have family living in Denmark, I understand, and I have been immensely taken by the contribution that the Danes, other Scandinavians and Austria and Germany have made to enhancing energy from waste. I prefer to call it “energy from waste”; I know others call it incineration. I had beer poured over me once in my surgery when I was a Member of the other place; since then, I have called it “energy from waste”. This is the ultimate circular economy, because you are taking potential food waste and putting it into the system—the residual; I accept the hierarchy, and it should be the absolute minimum. The community benefits because it would go, ideally, into the local grid. There is a now a big incinerator in what was my original constituency, the Vale of York. The gripe I have with it is that it goes into the National Grid, whereas, as north Yorkshire is very cold, it should go into the local grid.

The factsheet also set out the importance of reducing the amount of food waste—as do both the amendments in the names of my noble friend Lord Caithness and the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott—which is currently estimated as producing 25 million tonnes of CO2 gas emissions every year through 9.5 million tonnes of food and drink which is wasted annually post farm gate. I take those figures as being accurate, as I understand that they are in the factsheet we received.

I press my noble friend when he sums up that there is a sense of urgency here: however we address it, we need to reduce that waste. I pay tribute to the work of the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, not just on feeding Britain, as I think she called it, but for the national food strategy, as one of the team with its author, Henry Dimbleby. I look forward to hearing the official government response to Part 1 of that report.

Photo of Lord Blencathra Lord Blencathra Chair, Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, Chair, Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee

My Lords, I declare my interests as on the register. Like my noble friend Lord Caithness, I support the thrust of both these amendments, though neither goes far enough, in my opinion, including my noble friend’s amendment.

Amendment 149 applies only to retailers generating more than 10 tonnes of food waste and in stores of more than 400 square metres. I would reduce those sizes by half and apply them to everyone producing food waste: retailers, manufacturers and the catering industry. We have no idea of the extent of food waste in the catering industry. Today’s uneaten roast chicken should be tomorrow’s soup or curry.

Similarly, Amendment 149A in the name of my noble friend Lord Caithness is absolutely right in concept, especially the idea of reducing food waste across the whole supermarket supply chain. We often concentrate on the food that is unsold in shops at closing time, but we really need to tackle the rejected misshapen carrots, the less-than-perfectly shaped tomatoes and all the other food that is thrown away before it gets to the shops or caterers. A lot of organisations, to which the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, referred, usually charities, are seeking to use up food before supermarkets throw it away. My noble friend Lord Caithness is right to seek to reduce all food waste across the supply chain, before it gets to the ultimate shop or caterer.

In my opinion, it is wrong to set the bar at supermarkets with a turnover of £1 billion. That is too high. I would apply it to all retailers, manufacturers and catering outlets with a turnover of more than £200 million. As an aside, if I may say so—probably improperly—I hope there is still a Morrisons supermarket in five years’ time we can apply it to, after the vulture capitalists have loaded it with debt, robbed the pension fund and asset-stripped it. But that is possibly for another day.

Neither of the amendments deals with the appalling waste of food in our homes but, again, that is not a discussion for the Bill today. If my noble friend the Minister cannot accept the amendments, I hope he will stress to all those in the food supply business that at some point, the Government will be bearing down on them to drastically reduce all food waste at all points in the food supply chain and across all food outlets.

Photo of Lord Lucas Lord Lucas Conservative

My Lords, my noble friend Lord Blencathra is quite right to point up food waste at home. Here in Eastbourne, we have a universal system to deal with that, and a pair of them is nesting on the roof above me as I speak: very little goes to waste here. But on the broader front, yes, we absolutely must not accept the idea of waste. This comes back to the point I was making on previous amendments: the necessity of looking at things in the round. One of the prime ways to reduce waste is plastic packaging. The less you use plastic packaging, the more food waste you generate. We need to look at things as a whole, not at little bits. Within the area of food that, however packaged, has reached or is reaching the end of its shelf life, we indeed need to make it compulsory that it is offered to people, particularly charities, so that they can distribute it as it is needed and that, if there is no market there for it, that it is used in the most efficient way possible. By doing that, we will generate efficient ways to use it.

The other day, I came across a fascinating company called C3 BIOTECH, which is using biotechnology to convert food waste into useful fuels and other materials. These things flourish because we create the circumstances in which they can. If we do not mandate that people deal effectively with food waste, it just gets thrown away and the opportunity to do better things never arises. It is really important that the Government take action in this area. I wish the amendment of the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, well: if not in the detail of its drafting, very much in its spirit.

Photo of Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Green

My Lords, I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, and the noble Earl, Lord Caithness, on their excellent amendments. They are really good but, sadly, I have to agree with the noble Lord, Lord Blencathra. That is not something I usually do, but he is absolutely right: we must go even further on these issues. Food waste is a scourge on our society, We should be horribly embarrassed about it. Unfortunately, we are trying to get the Government to catch up, and I just do not know how we can do that; they are so far behind the general public on such issues.

I slightly disagree about how much individuals can do, because this is not an issue for individual behaviour change. A bit of education, perhaps: teaching people not to take those large packs of something that will end up with half rotting in the fridge, or whatever, but generally, this is for businesses—supermarkets—and for the Government to start legislating. These two amendments do quite a comprehensive job of covering all the issues: the waste hierarchy, practical solutions such as producing feedstock, setting targets and reporting.

I volunteered for a homeless charity for some years. Every Monday morning, I would go out on a very early tea run. Some companies, mainly cafés such as Costa, gave us their food from the day before to distribute to the homeless, which was very welcome. One Christmas, a big supermarket gave us 25 turkeys, which was a little more than we could handle and took quite a bit of redistribution. It happens from time to time, but we must make it normal to do that, so that nobody thinks it is okay to put waste food in a bin.

Personally, I think the Government would be well advised to accept these amendments. It is only by going after supermarkets and businesses that we can actually change the way we treat food waste.

Photo of Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 4:00 pm, 5th July 2021

My Lords, I am happy to speak in favour of this small but very important group of amendments. I have added my name to Amendment 149, in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott. With so many families and individuals struggling to find enough money to feed themselves, we should do all we can to prevent food waste.

The noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, who is an expert on avoiding food waste, has spoken passionately on this issue. Proposed new subsection (2) of the amendment gives a short list of actions that food retailers must take to prevent food waste. Proposed new subsection (2)(b) ensures that where food is fit for human consumption, it goes either to food banks or for further processing. The noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Moulsecoomb, spoke passionately about that and I completely agree with her.

As we approach the end of the school term and the beginning of the long six-week summer holidays, many families will be very concerned about how they will feed their children from the end of July until the beginning of the new school term in September. This is a time when food banks are likely to see an increase in the number of people using their facilities. Redundant food from supermarkets and food retailers has a role to play here, and food waste indeed has a value and should not go to landfill. The noble Lord, Lord Blencathra, quite rightly raised the issue of uneaten roast chicken being made into tomorrow’s soup or curry. That is what happens in our household; however, it cannot happen for homeless people who are accommodated in bed and breakfast facilities, where they have no access to cooking facilities. They are dependent on food banks and other feeding stations not to starve.

Proposed new subsections (3) to (11) give the criteria for how the Secretary of State will prevent food waste, the consultation and the need to report to Parliament on just how much food is being wasted. The public have got behind the campaign to prevent food waste and will be lobbying their MPs to ensure that they support it. Reporting to Parliament is the way in which MPs can reassure their constituents that everything is being done to prevent food waste and ensure that those living in poverty, who are hungry, are able to take advantage of excess food production. Proposed new subsections (10) to (12) give realistic targets for reducing food waste and ensuring a public campaign on the effects of food waste on climate change and biodiversity loss.

The noble Earl, Lord Caithness, in Amendment 149A, ensures that the supermarkets and food producers neither order nor produce more food than is needed. I agree that this amendment should be in the Bill. These businesses have been in operation for many years and, by now, should be aware of just how many items of a particular sort they are likely to sell and how many crops will need to be grown to meet demand. They cannot, of course, be expected to know whether a particular item is going to feature on a television cookery show, which will cause a spike in demand but, with that excluded, the science of supply and demand is well known to both producers and retailers. Ensuring that this is calculated and measured is key to preventing food waste.

At a time when not only in GB are people living in food poverty and going hungry, but large areas of Africa and other continents are suffering devastating loss of crops due to climate change and the aftermath of war, it is simply unacceptable for this country, one of the richest in the world, to be producing food to be wasted. I agree with the comments of the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, fully support this group of amendments and look forward to the Minister’s response.

Photo of Baroness Hayman of Ullock Baroness Hayman of Ullock Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

I commend the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, and the noble Earl, Lord Caithness, for bringing forward these amendments, which we strongly support. They both made important points in the introduction to their amendments, and I thank them for that.

In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion, both in politics and the media, about food waste. Some countries have already made laws to try to reduce food waste. In France, supermarkets are not allowed to waste their food; they have to give it, for free, to homeless people. France consistently tops the world rankings for its lack of food waste because of this, and Germany now has similar laws on food waste, so I strongly urge the Minister to follow in their footsteps and take note of these amendments.

Globally, food waste is estimated to cost £2.9 trillion a year. That is enough food to feed every hungry person in the world twice over, yet food insecurity and hunger still exist in both developing and developed countries. The noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville, talked about the problem of school holidays for children who are dependent on free school meals and issues with crop failure in the developing world.

WRAP estimates there is the potential to redistribute a further 190,000 tonnes of surplus food from the retail and food manufacturing sectors. Some of the surplus is difficult to make use of; it could be costly, in that it would need to be reworked or repackaged, and some surplus would not be edible. But WRAP still estimates that around 100,000 tonnes are both accessible and edible. For example, the noble Lord, Lord Blencathra, mentioned food that is rejected—perhaps it is misshapen. It is a nonsense that we throw away perfectly good food.

It is clear that we are not adequately distributing the food we produce. It is also clear that the environmental costs in water, energy and space to grow food that is not eaten is more than our environment can take. When food waste ends up in landfill, even though it will decompose, it contributes to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as it biodegrades. The amounts it produces during this process are on a level with the use of cars and fossil fuels. I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, that education is an important part of what we need to do to resolve these problems.

We have heard how much we throw away in the UK, but the 25 million tonnes of CO2 emissions just from the UK’s food waste is more than Kenya’s total annual emissions—a country of 53 million people. This is disgraceful. Even if you count only the edible food wasted, it comes to a total of 14 million tonnes. If we eradicated this, according to the Government’s latest data, it would be equivalent to taking one in five cars off the road. Considering this Government have set a target to reduce greenhouse gas levels by 68% of 1990 levels by 2030, reducing or even eliminating food waste seems like an obvious and easy step to take towards that goal.

Supermarkets are partially to blame for the global food waste catastrophe. The noble Earl, Lord Caithness, made this point well and looked at responsibility in the supply chains. We know that supermarket food waste comes to around £230 million a year, but also that they can be part of the solution, with significant power to have an impact on the amount of food we waste. The noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, rightly talked about how they stepped up during the pandemic. They can behave differently.

We can look at ways in which this can be done. Expiry dates is one. We know that consumers get confused about what the dates for food safety mean and, because of that, a lot of edible food is thrown away at home. There is not enough understanding of the difference between sell-by, use-by and best-by dates. We could do something about this confusion and lack of consistency. Supermarkets can play a role in standardising this information, so that consumers have it in an accurate easy-to-understand format. One personal bugbear is whether we really need a date for fresh fruit and vegetables; it is obvious to me when something has gone off. The noble Lord, Lord Lucas, talked of a need to find a use for all foods, which is really important.

The noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, talked about food banks, FareShare and the role that supermarkets can play. They can and do donate, but food banks have a limited amount of time to turn overripe produce around before it goes bad, and they are prohibited from giving away food that has passed its use-by or best-before date. Again, perishable foods can end up in the bin. As the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, said, we need to find ways to use all food.

Two years ago, in June 2019, more than 100 of the biggest players in food, including all the UK’s major supermarkets, signed a pledge to take action to drive down food waste and raise public awareness of the issue. The Government have also expressed their commitment to supporting UN sustainable development goal 12.3 to help halve food waste by 2030 and to report on progress and prioritise action. I ask the Minister to provide an update on progress on that pledge and the actions that are being prioritised to meet our obligations on SDG 12.3.

Food waste in the UK is a huge problem. The noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Moulsecoomb, rightly said it is a scourge in our society, and it is time for the Government to legislate. As well as an environmental disaster, it is a social catastrophe, when we consider the 10.5 billion meals that wasted food could have provided to deprived people. I appreciate that the Government have cut down on their food waste in recent years, but there is still an awfully long way to go. As the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh of Pickering, and other Lords, have said, I look forward to reading the Government’s food strategy. They must grasp this opportunity and do something about this. I look forward to the Minister’s response.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, for her unwavering dedication to this issue. We have discussed it on numerous occasions, both recently and before I became a Minister, and she knows that I share her passion.

The impacts of food waste are profound. I was going to give some examples, but they have just been given by the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, and I will not repeat them. It is true, however, that the impacts of food waste on unnecessary land use, unnecessary conversion of intact ecosystems and emissions are enormous. If food waste were a country, it would be the third or fourth largest emitter in the world. The madness of throwing food away at these levels is evident when there are people who do not have food to eat.

I turn to Amendment 149, which covers a lot of ground, and a similar amendment from my noble friend Lord Caithness, Amendment 149A. Through powers in Clause 49 and Schedule 4 to the Bill, the Government will be able to place obligations across the supply chain on food producers, retailers and supermarkets, making them responsible and liable for surplus food and food waste at all levels of the waste management hierarchy, including prevention and redistribution of food waste. I am pleased to confirm to my noble friend Lord Caithness that this could be through obligations such as food waste reduction targets, as outlined in his amendment, and moving food up the waste hierarchy with a focus on prevention and redistribution. In response to points raised by my noble friend Lord Blencathra, I confirm that the Government will be able to place obligations across the supply chain, from producers to manufacturers to caterers. We will also have powers to enforce these obligations if any producers were to breach them.

I reiterate that the Government are fully committed to meeting the UN sustainable development goal 12.3 target, which seeks to halve global food waste at consumer and retail levels by 2030. Of course, we have a long way to go, but significant progress has already been made, with a reported 27% per capita reduction to date, excluding inedible parts. In response to the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, I felt it a little unfair to say that the UK is miles behind. It is true that there are miles remaining to go to tackle this problem, but the UK is a world leader in food waste prevention. We have, for example, been singled out by the World Resources Institute for the work we are doing. There is much more to be done, and there are lots of steps which have been put forward by noble Lords today in this debate which we should seriously consider, but it is not true to state that we are miles behind other countries.

To ensure we are on track to meet the sustainable development goal target, the Government have put in place a range of measures to tackle food waste across the supply chain and in households. For example, we already have powers to introduce the public reporting of food waste by businesses and are about to consult on that. The consultation will cover implementation timelines, the inclusion of primary production food businesses and proposes a range of food businesses including retailers which would then be in scope. Regarding the noble Baroness’s amendment, we will first assess progress by food businesses to reduce food waste through various government measures which already exist, and which we are including here. We will then review progress after mandatory food waste reporting regulations have come into force. We have powers in this Bill to then propose or amend producer responsibility obligations broadly in line with the noble Baroness’s amendment. Unless we see serious progress, the Government will necessarily act.

I would like to mention some of the things which the Government are already doing to tackle this problem. For example, we have funded WRAP to work on the Courtauld commitment 2025 to introduce the food waste reduction road map, an objectively ground-breaking industry-wide toolkit with commitment from more than 250 businesses. We are supporting several WRAP’s campaigns, including the citizens strategy, the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, and we backed the UK’s first food waste action week in March this year. These campaigns are clearly designed to shift consumer behaviour, which is a major part of the solution.

Key policies in the resource and waste strategy include more effectively redistributing food to those who need it most before it can go to waste, backed up by £15 million of funding, and a forthcoming consultation and annual reporting on food waste by food businesses, as I have just mentioned. We have published a food surplus and waste hierarchy to support businesses to prevent, recycle, and dispose of waste. We have appointed Ben Elliot as the food surplus and waste champion, supported a cross-sector collaboration to reduce food waste through the Courtauld commitment 2025 agreement, and worked with WRAP to address household food waste, including those campaigns which I have just mentioned and others.

I hope I have gone some way at least toward reassuring noble Lords that the Government share their commitment to reduce food waste, through this Bill and through action that we have taken and will be taking. I therefore respectfully request that the noble Baroness withdraws her amendment.

Photo of Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords) 4:15 pm, 5th July 2021

My Lords, I have no requests to speak after the Minister, so I call the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott.

Photo of Baroness Boycott Baroness Boycott Crossbench

I thank your Lordships, and the Minister, whose final words were telling in that the Government have gone some way towards fixing this problem. I congratulate the Government on all the work which has been done through WRAP. The Love Food Hate Waste campaign has been terrific. However, the target is not high enough, and all sorts of things are not yet good enough.

I thank the noble Lords who have spoken in this debate, in particular the noble Earl, Lord Caithness. I completely agree with him that the food waste at the top of the supply chain is one of the biggest culprits lurking out there, and that we must get at it. In social supermarkets which I have set up, we extracted extraordinary amounts of products which were useless because the labelling was wrong, advertising the football, for example. Where does that food go? That is where we really need government support and transparency.

I was interested in what the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, said, and I agree with her that energy from waste is a very good way to describe it. I know that Ludlow at one point ran its school bus on the food waste which people put in buckets at the ends of their drives. It was very effective because people got involved, and it helped them to understand that there is proper energy, life and all sorts of good stuff in food. As she said, I indeed have lots of relatives in Denmark who are unbelievably good about it, and also do bottle deposit schemes.

I found myself in complete agreement with the noble Lord, Lord Blencathra, that it should apply to every sort of supermarket.d I disagree with him only when he mentioned the catering industry. On the whole, caterers are very canny with their money, and tend to get the right amount of food to feed people. I am always incredibly impressed when I find myself in the same place as a caterer. I also thank the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, although I wonder where his children were. Were they on the roof, or was it some birds? I saw a whole load of storks this weekend, not far from Eastbourne—perhaps they came down to feed on his waste food, as they are very hungry all the time. He was completely right about plastic packaging—we must use less.

As always, the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Moulsecoomb, said the key things, noting that the public are far ahead of the Government on this. We all want this. This has to be done, because we must get at the industry. I also thank the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville, for her support. I echo her view about the coming summer holidays, which should be lovely, but are in fact scary for a huge number of parents. Supermarkets should know how much to get, and not wait for the cookery shows.

The noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, gave a fantastic speech. I am so glad to get all that incredible data on the record. I did not know the statistic about one in five cars, which is really staggering—so I thank her for that.

I shall leave noble Lords with a couple of thoughts about France. Data obtained by the Independent from the Carrefour supermarket chain, the second largest in France with a socking great 20% market share, shows that in 2020 it donated 30,371 tonnes of food from its supermarkets, the equivalent of 72 million meals, meaning that a single French supermarket exceeded the donations of all 10 UK supermarkets by more than 6,000 tonnes. France is now ranked number one by the Food Sustainability Index.

The point about that is that people really liked it. It is a very popular law. Meanwhile, the UK’s top 10 chains donated less than 9% of their surplus food for human consumption. We could really change this. After the end of this pandemic, for the Government to say “This is going to go into law” would be incredibly popular. The supermarkets are already three-quarters of the way along the road, and if we can take on board the fact that it should be all of them, we would have a win that would be a good one. I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment 149 withdrawn.

Amendment 149A not moved.

Clauses 63 to 65 agreed.

Schedule 10 agreed.

Clause 66 agreed.

Clause 67: Littering enforcement

Amendment 150 not moved.

Clause 67 agreed.

Clauses 68 to 71 agreed.

Photo of Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

My Lords, we come now to the group beginning with Amendment 150A. Anyone wishing to press this or anything else in this group to a Division must make that clear in debate.