Global standard launched to tackle swelling food waste issues

Companies and countries have been urged to ramp up efforts to prevent food waste, through a new global standard that outlines reporting requirements on food management for business and governments to adhere to.

The Food Loss and Waste (FLW) standard was officially launched today (6 June) at the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) in Denmark, where partners including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), WRAP, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Consumer Goods Forum gathered to unveil new international definitions to help companies improve efforts to transport, consume and store food.

“This standard is a major breakthrough for companies and governments looking to reduce food loss and waste,” WRI’s president Andrew Steer said. “For the first time, armed with this standard, countries and companies will be able to quantify how much food loss and wasted, where it occurs, and report on it in a highly credible and consistent manner. There’s simply no reason that so much food should be lost and wasted. Now, we have a powerful new tool that will help governments and businesses save money, protect resources, and ensure more people get the food they need.”

Originally established in 2013, the standard looks to encourage consistency and transparency in quantifying and reporting food waste issues to reap economic benefits, enhance food security, improve natural resource efficiency and reduce environmental impacts.

3GF – Tackling Food Loss And Waste from aceandace on Vimeo.

Food for thought

With the FAO stating that around one third of all food is wasted – costing $940bn each year – the standard introduces the first set of international reporting requirements that businesses, governments and NGOs will follow in order to highlight areas where efficiency can be improved.

The standard will aim to reduce the amount of wasted food and funnel the increased volume to more than 800 million people who are currently undernourished across the globe. The standard also aims to cut emissions from the production process of food, which accounts for 8% of global emissions.

Research from the WRI has stated that if food waste was a country, it would be the third largest emitter on the planet behind the US and China. The new standard will aim to compliment the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which includes a target to reduced food waste by 50% by 2030.

Since the standard’s conception in 2013, Nestlé – a prominent member of the Consumer Goods Forum – has been working with WRI to develop the concept to a point where it can be adopted worldwide.

Nestlé’s Nordic market head, Michiel Kernkamp said: “We clearly see this standard as a massive, global step in fighting food loss and waste. The standard is outstanding in its setting of clear targets and in its full transparency. But maybe most of all it is outstanding as a tool where you can measure your steady progress within food loss and waste. What gets measured, can be managed. At Nestlé, we will definitely also benefit significantly by using the standard to help us address food loss and waste across the value chain.”

With WRAP stating that grocery retailers and supply chain operators are missing out on a £300m windfall by not addressing food waste, Tesco’s head of food waste reduction Mark Little issued a rallying call for innovators to help tackle the issue.

Richard Swannel at edie’s Resource Revolution conference

WRAP’s Richard Swannel will be speaking about ‘why a national aproach is needed for a resource revolution’ at edie’s upcoming Resource Revolution Conference.

Taking place on 5 July, the edie Resource Revolution Conference provides resource management, sustainability, waste, product, supply chain and design professionals with tools they need to rethink their approach to resource use and waste outputs, drive organisational efficiencies, behaviour change and profitability, and effect a revolution in their company’s sustainability credentials.

Find out more about the Conference and register to attend here

Matt Mace

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie