COVID-19 has led to a crisis in the food system, with many fearing a global rise in food loss and waste due to disruptions along the supply chain. But around the world, efforts are underway to ensure food makes it to people, not left to rot in fields or landfills.
On June 23, Champions 12.3 hosted a webinar to explore:
How is COVID-19 impacting food loss and waste levels around the globe?
What actions can governments and companies take to prevent this food loss and waste?
What efforts are already showing success?
Speakers discussed these questions and how the audience can help reduce food loss and waste during this crisis.
As climate change climbs on the global agenda, one issue is climbing along with it: food loss and waste. The estimated 1.3 billion metric tons of food that is produced but goes uneaten every year accounts for about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. If it were a country, it would be the third-biggest emitter. While its existence is evidence of inefficiency in the modern food system, its solution requires innovations that mimic nature.
In light of the climate crisis and over-consumption of natural resources, the best way to feed a growing global population is not to increase agricultural production, but to reduce waste and better value the food already being produced. This is the message that I brought, on behalf of Sodexo, to the Climate Action Summit held during the recent UN General Assembly. I was particularly struck by conversations during the annual meeting of the Champions 12.3 coalition, whose mission is to mobilize companies and governments to meet the UN’s sustainable development goal to halve food waste by 2030. On the occasion of World Food Day, happening today, I’m pleased to share with you four observations from these discussions.
According to a recent study by accountants Price Bailey, the number of restaurant insolvencies has reached a record high, with an average of four closing every day. A range of factors, they say, including market saturation, rising costs and changing consumer spending habits, are all combining to put pressure on the sector.
This blog is part of the ‘Five Questions’ series, examining examples of how food loss and waste is being reduced around the world.
For this post, we talked with Ravichandran Purushothaman, Danfoss President, India. Danfoss is a part of the Friends of Champions 12.3 network.
How did your company’s process to address food loss and/or waste get started?
Purushothaman: Danfoss has a long history in refrigeration. Our founder Mads Claus’ first product was an expansion valve for refrigeration systems created in 1933, and he later created the hermetic compressor for refrigerators and freezers in 1952. Refrigeration, and therefore the preservation of food, is at the very heart of Danfoss.
Seven years ago, we started a task force with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) addressing the challenges around food loss. Realizing that the food supply had major challenges, and that demand for premium food is increasing, the task force sponsored an assessment of the Indian food market, which had not been done before. As a result of its findings, the task force decided to focus on bananas, as the largest produce lost within in the Tamil Nadu region.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.