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business in the community
22 March 2024
AgriFood

Welsh Government: Welsh Food and Drink Sustainability Cluster

We have all felt the effects of climate breakdown through our food, whether it is our farmers experiencing abnormal weather conditions, the industry-professionals watching food costs rise, or our customers seeing food shortages on supermarket shelves. Consumers now expect their food and drink to be sustainably sourced and delivered, relying on manufacturers to ensure this happens.

As part of the overall strategic vision for the food and drink industry, Welsh Government is supporting businesses to adopt and transform their practices, thereby enhancing their environmental message to both customers and consumers – and grow sales as a result. That support is given to businesses across the country – whether small micro-sites, medium-sized entities or divisions of larger companies that are based in Wales.

The strategic vision of the Welsh Government is to build a strong and vibrant food and drink industry underpinned with sustainable supply chains that have a global reputation for excellence. This builds on its previous strategy, which saw a 30% growth target for the industry exceeded a year early, with record sales of £7.5bn in 2019. Its new aim is to achieve food and drink sales of at least £8.5bn by 2025.

This ambition reflects the urgency and commitment expressed by Welsh Government to tackle climate change, and to respond to an increased focus by consumers to purchase products with minimal environmental impact and ethically produced from sustainable supply chains.

Looking at areas such as growth and productivity, environmental impact, fair work and raising standards throughout, by working together it is hoped that government and industry can create one of the most environmentally and socially responsible supply chains in the world.

The Welsh Government Food & Drink Wales Cluster Network uses the successful triple helix approach with government, industry and academia working hand in hand to tackle common industry problems. One of the clusters is the Welsh Food and Drink Sustainability Cluster, which supports and develops sustainable practices across Wales’s agri-food industry.

While the cluster is the central hub, providing intelligence to businesses, being the eyes and ears of the industry, developing networks and industry expertise, it works tirelessly to grow its membership for the future, helping Wales become a world leader in sustainability.

With government bodies, 30 academic organisations and a hundred members from across the industry, one of the ways the cluster has been helping develop sustainable practices is supporting food and drink businesses achieve B Corp status.

The cluster boasts a successful history of collaborating closely with Welsh food and drink businesses, guiding them through the B Corp certification process. This support includes facilitating businesses in completing the B Impact Assessments while managing a specific B Corp workstream of businesses keen on achieving the coveted certification.

Through engagement with retailers, industry experts and market research, the cluster can help identify what sustainability credentials a business needs to meet the expectations of both consumers and retailers.

Working collaboratively with Welsh Government, academia, the three food innovation centres, Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre Cymru, Food and Drink Skills Wales and others, the Sustainability Cluster has access to expertise that can help businesses with process improvement, automation, reformulation, packaging, waste management and much more.

Not only are businesses supported in terms of processes, but under the Food & Drink Wales branding the cluster also provides the perfect platform to connect with a wide audience and promote the sustainability credentials of their products at notable events such as the Royal Welsh Show and BlasCymru/Taste Wales.

Growing community

While boasting over a hundred members from across the industry, along with government bodies and 30 academic organisations, the Sustainability Cluster is continually growing and welcomes new members, providing a valuable resource for food and drink businesses to flourish and succeed, through sharing information and best practice.

Every citizen from every country has the power to contribute collectively towards our planet’s regeneration through the food we eat. The Sustainability Cluster can help food and drink manufacturers produce their goods with sustainability at the forefront of their thinking.

Find out more about how the Sustainability Cluster can help your food and drink business: food-drink.wales/business/

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