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?
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.
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.
Contact: Jillian Holzer, World Resources Institute, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 202-729-7754
Contact: Kim van Seeters, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Directorate General Agriculture and Nature, The Netherlands, email@example.com
RELEASE: New Research Finds Companies Saved $14 for Every $1 Invested in Reducing Food Waste
Report from Champions 12.3 shows that companies, consumers and governments can save billions of dollars and millions of tons of food by acting to cut food loss and waste
WASHINGTON (March 6, 2017)–One-third of all food produced in the world is never eaten, which has tremendous economic, social and environmental consequences. New research on behalf of Champions 12.3 finds that for every $1 companies invested to reduce food loss and waste, they saved $14 in operating costs. The report finds that household savings could be much greater.
In a first-of-its kind analysis, The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste evaluated financial cost and benefit data for 1,200 sites across 700 companies in 17 countries, finding that nearly every site realized a positive return on its investment to reduce food waste. The types of investments companies made include: quantifying and monitoring food loss and waste, training staff on practices to reduce waste, changing food storage and handling processes, changing packaging to extend shelf-life, changing date labels, and other staff and technology investments.
This post originally appeared on the website for Wageningen University & Research. Several Champions are part of the taskforce, including Feike Sijbesma (Royal DSM), Hans Hoogeveen (FAO), and Louise Fresco (WUR).
The Taskforce Circular Economy in Food, launched today during the National Food Summit in the Netherlands, aims to prevent and reduce food waste and become an international frontrunner in the valorisation of agrifood residual streams. The Taskforce, an initiative by Wageningen University & Research, in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Sustainable Food Alliance, connects initiatives against food waste. It is leading the transition towards acceleration and the development of a circular economy. The Taskforce is currently composed of 25 members from the entire food supply chain, from SMEs to food multinationals, and supplemented with members from public and societal organisations.
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.
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.
“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.
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.