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.

Continue reading EXECUTIVE PERSPECTIVE: Why reducing food waste is important and attainable

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.

Continue reading Eliminating Waste Can Feed the Hungry—All of Them

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

Choose or Lose: Why Gisele and I Are Shifting to a Sustainable Diet

By Andrew Steer, President and CEO of World Resources Institute

This post first appeared on Huffington Post. 

In just a few short years, growing and eating sustainable food has moved from a fringe idea into the mainstream. With a major boost from First Lady Michelle Obama’s garden, nutritionists, community non-profits, environmentalists, and food producers and suppliers have rallied around this idea. During the Obama administration, the U.S. government embraced sustainable food, including setting a target to halve food waste by 2030. Although we don’t yet know what the next administration will do, food choices largely rest with individuals, families, businesses and city leaders.

Embracing a sustainable food system can bring a host of benefits, including getting more food to those who need it, while lowering household bills and lowering emissions that drive climate change.

Continue reading Choose or Lose: Why Gisele and I Are Shifting to a Sustainable Diet

Community Food Connection Wins Industry Award

This article is re-posted from Tesco’s website. 

We are pleased to share the news that last night, Tesco’s food surplus redistribution scheme, Community Food Connection with FareShare FoodCloud, won the ‘Sustainable Futures’ award at the prestigious 2016 IGD Awards.

These annual awards celebrate the latest commitments and innovations in the food and grocery industry. This award recognises the hard work our teams have done together in rolling out this scheme to Tesco stores, to tackle food waste and food poverty in the UK.

The scheme is delivered in partnership with food redistribution charity FareShare and social enterprise FoodCloud and is currently live in over 800 Tesco stores. The scheme has donated over 1.4 million meals worth of surplus food to people in need to date, and over 3,000 local charities and community groups have signed up. These include homeless shelters, substance abuse rehabilitation services, after school clubs, foodbanks and many more. It is hoped that through this scheme people in need right across the UK will benefit from both our surplus food and the much-needed support and advice of these vital charities.

At Tesco we are committed that no good food will go to waste in our stores by the end of 2017. Community Food Connection is one of the ways we will make this a reality. A big thank you to everyone who has made this possible.

Tesco was the first retailer to publish its food waste data and to invest in and roll out FareShare FoodCloud to its stores. For more information on how we are reducing food waste from farm to fork, click here.



Latin American Cities Must Tackle Food Waste

This op-ed appeared in Spanish on October 14 in esglobal. Read Las ciudades de América Latina deben luchar contra el desperdicio de comida here. 

By Yolanda Kakabadse

Imagine tossing your entire lunch in the trash bin every day. It sounds absurd, but it’s not so far-fetched. Around one-third of all food the world produces is never eaten – either lost in production or wasted by retailers and everyday consumers – even as 800 million people struggle to have enough to eat. The FAO reports that the food lost or wasted in Latin America alone could feed an estimated 300 million people.

Continue reading Latin American Cities Must Tackle Food Waste

By Measuring Food Waste, We Can Manage It

This op-ed was published October 14 on Thomson Reuters. 

October 16 is World Food Day, a day dedicated to ensuring that everyone on the planet has enough safe, nutritious food to eat. But one way to achieve this noble goal is actually quite straightforward: Reduce the massive amounts of food loss and waste.

The next time you sit down to a meal, consider that an astounding one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted from farm to fork. In fact, a recent study found that 88 million tonnes of food was wasted in the EU-28 alone in 2012, with household food waste accounting for more than half that number.

Often overlooked, food loss and waste is a formidable global problem. It hampers efforts to feed the world. While nearly 800 million people—one in nine globally—are undernourished, over a billion tons of food never make it to a fork. It affects national and household economics.

Food loss and waste accounts for $940 billion per year in economic losses globally. In sub-Saharan Africa, where many farmers earn less than $2 a day, post-harvest losses amount to $4 billion per year. In some European countries, food waste at home and in restaurants costs more than a thousand Euro per year per household.

It also affects the environment. Food that is ultimately lost or wasted consumes about a quarter of all water used by agriculture, requires cropland area the size of China and is responsible for an estimated 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Just think, if food loss and waste were a country, it would be the world’s third-largest emitter—surpassed only by China and the United States.

Cutting food loss and waste down to size thus offers a rare triple win for food security, the economy and the environment. But what can be done? It starts with 1, 2, 3.

A first step is for countries and companies to set food loss and waste reduction targets. Targets drive ambition and ambition motivates action. In September 2015, nations of the world agreed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals, each with a number of targets.

Among them is Target 12.3, which calls for cutting in half per capita global food waste at retail and consumer levels and for reducing food losses along production and supply chains by 2030. We are all part of a coalition of leaders, called Champions 12.3, dedicated to mobilizing action, inspiring ambition and accelerating progress toward meeting this target.

The private sector is taking steps to lead the way. The Consumer Goods Forum, which represents more than 400 of the world’s largest retailers, manufacturers, and service providers, has resolved to reduce food waste from member operations by 50 percent by 2025, five years earlier than Target 12.3.

A second step is for countries and companies to measure their food loss and waste. We’ve all heard the old adage that “what gets measured gets managed.” Since most countries and companies do not currently quantify how much or where food is being lost or wasted, it’s no surprise that the rates are so high. Without understanding the nature of the problem, it is difficult to effectively address it.

Measuring food waste in Europe is now more feasible than ever. Earlier this year, the EU multi-stakeholder initiative FUSIONS released recommendations on how to quantify food waste in Europe. These guidelines will inform the EU Commission on a methodology to measure food waste consistently across the European Union, as called for by the Commission’s waste legislation proposal.

Efforts received a global boost this year with the launch of the Food Loss & Waste Protocol, the global standard for food loss and waste measurement and reporting which was developed by a partnership of UN agencies, research institutions, and private sector associations.

A third step is for countries and companies to take action. Knowing where and how much food is being lost and wasted makes it easier to set priorities to tackle the hotspots. Exactly what needs to be done will vary between regions and stages in the food supply chain.

In developing countries, for instance, steps to prevent food losses during production, handling and storage will be critically important. In developed countries, as well as in rapidly growing urban areas just about everywhere, steps to prevent food waste at retail markets, restaurants and homes will be vital.

Set goals, measure the problem, then act. In this way we just might achieve a future where no more food goes to waste.

Dr. Louise Fresco is President of the Executive Board, Wageningen University & Research Centre
Peter Bakker, President, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
Paul Bulcke, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé S.A.
Dr. Hans Hoogeveen, Ambassador / Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation
Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever.

All authors are part of Champions 12.3, a unique coalition of leaders from governments, businesses, international organisations, research institutions, and civil society dedicated to inspiring ambition, mobilising action, and accelerating progress toward achieving SDG Target 12.3.

Tackling the Environmental and Social Challenges Facing Agricultural Supply Chains and Rural Communities

On September 15, 36 leading agri-business companies launched the Global Agri-business Alliance (GAA) in Singapore. Their aim is to collectively tackle the major environmental and social challenges facing agricultural supply chains and rural communities across the world.

Announced at the Building Sustainable Futures Forum sponsored by Olam International, the newly-formed GAA is a CEO-led private sector initiative seeking to contribute significantly to the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, most notably SDG 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture[1].

Continue reading Tackling the Environmental and Social Challenges Facing Agricultural Supply Chains and Rural Communities