The Competition and Markets Authority today issued information to help businesses achieve environmental sustainability goals whilst staying on the right side of competition law.
A growing number of businesses – including many in the restaurant and contract catering sector – are striving to meet climate change targets or other environmental objectives through ‘sustainability agreements’.
These are arrangements between businesses to work together to do things such as reduce their carbon footprint or improve the environmental standards of their products.
Examples in the foodservice sector could include the Courtauld Commitment 2025, which aims to reduce waste and greenhouse emissions associated with food and drink, and more recently the Zero Carbon Forum, which comprises 20 restaurant chains that plan to publish an industry roadmap for cutting carbon emissions across the sector.
The CMA said it is important that competition law does not become an unnecessary obstacle to sustainable development, and that businesses are not deterred from taking part in lawful environmental initiatives for fear they may breach competition law.
In order to ensure that markets remain competitive and open to innovation, the it has issued an information document to help firms navigate competition law as it currently stands.
The document outlines the current framework for the self-assessment of competition law risk and sets out the key points that businesses and trade associations should consider when making sustainability agreements.
Stuart Hudson, CMA senior director for strategy, said: “Supporting the transition to a low carbon economy is one of the CMA’s strategic objectives and we want to help businesses to achieve their sustainability goals without breaching competition rules.
“That’s why we’ve published concise information and advice for firms and trade associations on how to stay on the right side of the law when producing sustainability agreements.”
The CMA has also issued a short blog, outlining the current competition law debate on sustainability issues.