Jakob Ellemann-Jensen

Former Minister of Environment and Food, Denmark
Jakob Ellemann-Jensen

Jakob Ellemann-Jensen is former Danish Minister for Environment and Food.

He first entered politics in 2010 as candidate for the Liberal Party and was elected to Parliament in 2011 for the Liberal Party. Jakob Ellemann-Jensen has among other things served as spokesman on political affairs, and been a member of the European Affairs Committee.

After initially having a successful military career, he studied business administration and commercial law at Copenhagen Business School, where he graduated in 2002. He then went on working for among others IBM, before embarking on the political path.

Jakob Ellemann-Jensen is out of a political family. His father, Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1982-1993. Jakob Ellemann-Jensen’s sister, Karen Ellemann-Jensen, has also been appointed minister several times.

When we waste food, we waste money, and we waste resources. Reducing wasteful practices simply makes good sense, from the business perspective as well as from an environmental perspective. As Minister for both the environment and food I think prevention of food waste should be a top priority for all of us for the sake of the generations to come. — Jakob Ellemann-Jensen

Prevention of food waste has been a strategic focus point at national level in Denmark since 2010 and comprises of the National Waste Prevention Strategy, prioritization and funding of research, ongoing dialogue with the food sector, trade organisations and consumers, and international engagement within the Nordic countries, EU and International Organizations.

The total amount of avoidable food waste and loss in Denmark has been estimated to more than 700,000 tons per year. The households generate 250,000 tons per year (data from 2017) and the entire service sector (trade and food service) generate 228,000 tons per year (data from 2011-13). www.mst.dk/Denmarkwithoutwaste

Recent initiatives include:

  • The annual World Food Summit – Better Food for More People in Copenhagen, that gathers international policy decision-makers, industry leaders, experts and gastronomy frontrunners to identify steps on how to ensure better food for more people, including how to prevent food waste. The Summit has a focus on food challenges of global relevance including the consequences of urbanization andespecially on gastronomy as a tool to provide critical leverage to enable us to better understand our food all the way from farm to fork. Because gastronomy is a powerful tool to connect consumers with the complex systems behind what they eat and enhancing awareness and understanding. Read more on www.bfmp.dk
  • “Green Development and Demonstration Program” and “Eco-Innovation Program” support innovative green solutions by businesses and research institutions to prevent food waste – for example by developing packaging solutions to prolong freshness of fruit and vegetables.
  • Removal of legislative burdens in order to decrease food waste, including changes in taxation and changes that remove limitations in donations from food retailers.
  • A “Partnership for prevention of avoidable food waste” between businesses, organizations and authorities (29 partners in total). The partners share information and experiences, identify barriers in existing legislation, develop new ideas and co-operate to initiate new initiatives to prevent food waste.
  • Support to initiatives from the entire food value chain through the “Subsidy scheme for less food waste 2016-17”. 13 projects were initiated in 2016, for example projects raising awareness at consumer level, donation of surplus food, workshops at high schools and new business models for marketing of second quality vegetables.
  • The “Food Waste Hunters Initiative”, a task force of consultants who engage commercial kitchens in the food service sector to finding food waste reduction opportunities.
  • A yearly national “Conference on Less Food Waste” in order to gather and inspire all actors in the entire food value chain to take actions.
  • Teaching materials that provide children with practical tools and teach them the difference between ‘use by’ date and ‘best before’ as well as tips on how to store food so it does not go bad.
  • A scientific approach on the complex challenges concerning prevention of food waste including monitoring of food waste. As a consequence of this the Ministry collaborates with several universities in order to generate knowledge on the extent of food waste, incentives and powerful instruments in order to procure feasible, sustainable and holistic solutions.
  • Prevention of food waste is for everybody to engage in. The Danish Ministry of Environment and Food therefore highly prioritizes a continuous dialog with all stakeholders throughout the entire food chain in order to ensure awareness, facilitation and progress.