Firms ranging from Bupa and the Cooperative Bank to Unilever and Veolia were among more than 40 companies that have committed to work together to help double the UK’s resource productivity and reduce avoidable waste by 2030.
Others include the likes of Heineken, Iceland, Lloyds Banking Group, Marks & Spencer, PwC, Sky, Thames Water, and Toyota.
Those signed up to the pledge also commit to redesign the use of resources in their products, services and operations, and to work collaboratively with other organisations and sectors.
The Prince of Wales made a keynote speech at the Waste to Wealth summit, organised by Business in the Community, in which he addressed the urgent need to tackle the resource issue in the UK and explain why business is best placed to meet this challenge.
Results from a new Ipsos MORI survey of more than 2,000 adults, released at the summit, revealed a demand from consumers for help in reducing waste.
Most people would like to see money-back incentives to encourage the return of used packaging (82%). Having dedicated places in stores for used packaging (80%) and store loyalty points as incentives (79%) were also popular options in terms of what companies could do to help consumers reduce their own individual waste.
Environment secretary Michael Gove, who spoke at the summit, said: “We need to cut avoidable waste and start looking at the waste we do produce as a valuable resource...by working together we can all play a part in eliminating unnecessary waste to leave the environment in a better state for future generations.”
Amanda Mackenzie, chief executive of Business in the Community, commented that the organisation was looking at how to make the most of resources and reduce waste, “ideally not producing it in the first place. The old adage ‘waste not want not’ has never been more relevant.”
She added: “Businesses can start by finding out what their resource footprint is. Let’s tackle this critical problem together and lead the world in doing so.”
This comes amid mounting concern over the levels of waste in the supply chain, set against a backdrop of rising fears over the impact of climate change.
Earlier this year prime minister Theresa May announced plans to work with the agri-food supply chain to cut greenhouse gas emissions and waste by a fifth by 2025.
It its 25-year environment plan, the government also pledged to support zero deforestation, including helping local authorities draw up procurement plans to increase the number of trees in urban areas and looking to come up with ways to help companies “identify sustainable supply chains.”
The government's industrial strategy has set a target of eliminating avoidable waste by 2050.