Food and beverage 2050: The transition to net zero

02 May 2024. Published by Karen Hendy, Partner, Head of Corporate and Rosamund Akayan, Knowledge Lawyer

What is happening?

Following publication in October 2023 of its final Disclosure Framework for private sector entities to transition to a net zero economy, the TPT published draft Food & Beverage Sector Guidance in November 2023.

A final version of this guidance is expected to be published in spring 2024.

Why does it matter?

Mandatory requirements already exist for UK listed companies and financial firms to publish transition plans, showing investors how the organisation will reach net zero by 2050 across its operations and value chains. These are likely to be strengthened to align with the TPT Disclosure Framework and ISSB Standards.

The UK Government is also planning to consult on introducing requirements for the UK's largest companies to disclose their transition plans if they have them and is moving towards making publication of transition plans mandatory.

The TPT Disclosure Framework contains the foundational disclosure recommendations which apply to all sectors and is designed to complement and build on ISSB Standards. It applies three guiding principles of Ambition, Action and Accountability organised across five elements and 19 sub-elements which should be disclosed against in a transition plan. It recommends that all entities take a strategic and rounded approach to transition planning, considering the three inter-related channels of decarbonising the entity; responding to the entity's climate-related business risks and opportunities; and contributing to an economy-wide transition.

The Food & Beverage Sector Guidance adds further depth and detail for preparers of transition plans operating in the Food & Beverage sector in relation to nine of the 19 sub-elements of a transition plan, including specific recommendations for food retailers and distributors.
For example, in relation to the business operations sub-element, the guidance suggests that businesses should consider disclosing any plans they have to:

  • transition a logistics fleet to electric vehicles
  • increase the supply of seasonal and locally sourced produce
  • replace refrigerants with lower global-warming potential alternatives
  • diversify input suppliers to increase resilience
  • engage with suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • reduce food waste through waste monitoring and procurement initiatives, and
  • influence end consumer behaviour and demand.

The guidance also suggests business and operational metrics against which an entity should consider reporting, such as percentages of purchases and product volume that are third-party certified to an environmental or social sustainability standard.

What action should you consider?

Listed retailers should already be preparing transition plans in accordance with the TPT Disclosure Framework and sector guidance.

Non-listed retailers may also benefit from putting together transition plans as mandatory requirements for non-listed companies to publish transition plans are expected to closely follow the existing requirements for listed companies.

Retailers operating in the Food & Beverage sector should first read the TPT Disclosure Framework for an understanding of the key concepts and the sub-elements against which disclosure is required and should then read the Food & Beverage Sector Guidance for further detail of how to disclose against the sub-elements considered in the guidance.

In addition to the Sector Deep Dives, retailers should also consider the TPT's Sector Summary which provides high-level guidance for a number of other sectors, including Consumer Goods Retail and Health Care Retail.

Retailers do not need to wait for mandatory requirements to start reflecting on the changes that transitioning to a net zero economy will require to their businesses. They should already be considering the sustainability and climate risks and opportunities that affect them; preparing to collect sustainability data from across their value chains; and ensuring that relevant personnel are adequately briefed on the reporting processes that may affect them.


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