Clock Ticking on Food Waste

By Dave Lewis, Group Chief Executive of Tesco and Chair of Champions 12.3

This post originally appeared on Huffington Post on September 20. 

This week, leaders from around the world will gather in New York for the UN General Assembly. Climate change, conflict, and poverty will all crowd the agenda. But one issue on many people’s radar is food waste. It might not grab the headlines, but the need to tackle it is urgent and compelling.

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Food waste: how governments, financiers and consumers can play their part

This op-ed first appeared in Thomson Reuters on March 23. 

A recent report from the Champions 12.3 coalition underscores the fact that the global community is capable of tackling the long-running issue of food loss and wastage if all players in the food ‘supply chain’ take action. The challenges are well defined, the incentives are many. But are we doing what is necessary?

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Tackling food waste: Something politicians can agree on

This op-ed first appeared in The Hill on March 10. 

By Liz Goodwin

From my vantage point in a village in the English countryside, party politics in America are certainly eye-catching. The question for any leader looking to break a stalemate is, what areas of common ground can be found? To my mind, there’s a really clear option.

One would hardly call politics in the United Kingdom tame, and yet one area where our government has found agreement and seen real results is reducing food waste. Nearly 10 years ago, few people in the UK (or elsewhere for that matter) were focusing on food waste as a critical social, economic or environmental issue. Myself and my colleagues at the nonprofit organization WRAP recognized that the amount of food households, restaurants, grocers and others were throwing out was probably sizeable. So, in 2007 we began measuring what edible food was being needlessly thrown away. 

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Curbing food waste saves money, as well as the planet

BY DAVE LEWIS, CHAIRMAN OF CHAMPIONS 12.3 AND GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF TESCO. THIS ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE TELEGRAPH ON MARCH 6.

Imagine a land mass greater than China. Now imagine that land is only used to produce food. Then suppose all the crops and produce from those 2.5bn acres are not eaten. Imagine all of that – and you have grasped the amount of food the world wastes every year.

Every year a third of the world’s food is wasted. In terms of weight, it adds up to around 1.3bn tonnes. In the UK alone, we waste over 10m tonnes of food in a year.

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Tesco leads the way with food surplus donations from stores

This news release first appeared online here. Tesco Group’s CEO, Dave Lewis, is Chair of Champions 12.3. 

Tesco has revealed its food surplus redistribution initiative, Community Food Connection, has so far helped serve five million meals to more than 3,300 community groups and charities since its launch less than a year ago.

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EXECUTIVE PERSPECTIVE: Why reducing food waste is important and attainable

This op-ed by Champions 12.3 member Michel Landel, CEO of Sodexo, appeared in Reuters on January 5. 

Across the globe, more than one-third of food that is grown and produced for human consumption ends up lost or wasted. And in the U.S., where one in five children face the risk of going hungry, food waste represents the third-largest category of waste in landfills. In America alone, $218 billion is spent growing, processing, transporting and disposing of food that is never eaten. Those numbers don’t even address the social impact of food waste, a facet that is often overlooked, perhaps because it is more difficult to quantify.

In order to address food waste, we must understand the social impacts of this global challenge. The food and catering service industry has a unique opportunity to further move the needle on this problem, but in order to make that happen at scale, we need to help inform customers so they understand and support the food waste reduction challenge. I believe that Sodexo has an important role to play in giving voice and information around this important issue.

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Eliminating Waste Can Feed the Hungry—All of Them

This op-ed by Champions 12.3 member Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation, appeared in TIME on December 1. 

“The problem of food waste contains within it the seeds of its solution”

Imagine, if you will, a disaster movie monster wreaking havoc on the planet. Its thirst drains Lake Geneva of its water three times a year, its hunger devours a third of all of Earth’s food, and its breath emits greenhouse gases at a level outpaced only by the U.S. and China.

You can stop imagining now, because this monster is real, and its name is Global Food Waste. The good news is that we have the means to defeat it, because the problem of food waste contains within it the seeds of its solution. And in doing so, we can feed the 795 million hungry people of the world and save precious natural resources, too. This is why the Rockefeller Foundation has invested hundreds of millions of dollars and enlisted partners around the globe—from large corporations to smallholder farmers, from celebrity chefs to supermarkets—to halve food waste globally, through an initiative we call YieldWise.

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Are you throwing away food that’s still safe to eat?

This op-ed by Champions 12.3 member Liz Goodwin, senior fellow and director of food loss and waste at WRI, appeared on CNN.com on December 23

In this season of festive eating — and festive provisioning — we often have a tricky time planning meals, juggling all the things in our fridge and making sure everyone has a good time and enjoys the food we cook. I know that even in my house, all the date labels on food can cause confusion. What’s the difference between them all? Is the food still safe to eat if it’s getting close to one of the dates? Can I use it to feed my friends and family?

We all often err on the side of caution because we don’t really know the difference between the different types of labels. As a result, it’s often the case in the United Kingdom — and I’m sure it’s the same in the United States — that food gets tossed from home cupboards when it passes its “best by” date.

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Speech by Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis at the Launch Meeting of the “EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste”

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There are days in the life of people and societies which mark a turning point, between a “before” and an “after”; I am convinced that when it comes to that absurd unethical and anti-economic situation which we call ‘food waste’ this is one of those days.

I am therefore delighted to be here with you today to inaugurate the very first meeting of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste.

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2030 Champions Brings Together Business and Government to Cut US Food Waste

By Craig Hanson, Global Director for Food, Forests and Water at WRI

Food loss and waste is one of those challenges that is just as local as it is global. Every corner of the earth wastes food, and every nation feels the effects of a warming planet, in part caused by methane released from  the 1.3 billion tons of food that go uneaten every year  And yet, the specifics of food loss and waste vary by country—and to be effective, the solutions have to be local.

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