Climate change and the rising costs of fuel and energy affect the availability of agricultural raw materials, clean water and costs of production; thus directly affecting the sustainability of the food and drink industry.
In response to these challenges, the food and drink industry has reduced GHG emissions by 18% while increasing production value by 29% between 1999 and 2008.
Many European food and drink manufacturers have set out internal goals to reduce their environmental footprints and a large number are certified by international environmental management schemes.
Due to their biological origin, numerous by-products, further residues, materials and waste from food processing can be used to produce energy. For example, every tonne of food waste sent for biological treatment can deliver between 100-200m3 of biogas, thereby reducing dependency on fossil fuels and cutting GHG emissions.
Food manufacturing facilities have a significant demand for heat and cooling. The best way to provide heat is from a Combined Heat and Power plants that can produce both heat and electricity at the same time making the facilities more energy efficient.
Some of the refrigerant gases commonly used by food and drink manufacturers, such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), contribute to climate change if they escape to the atmosphere. While HFCs account for only 0.2% of the food and drink industry’s GHG emissions, the industry is gradually switching to alternative refrigerants as they become technically and economically viable, safe and energy efficient.