Food waste coalition begins push for value chain collaboration
Pepsi, Unilever and WWF are among a collection of businesses and NGOs that have joined a new coalition organisation tasked with inspiring companies to adopt comprehensive food waste programmes.
The International Food Waste Coalition (IFWC) was established in April earlier this year. A total of seven organisations pledged grants to the coalition which officially launched today (15 October).
IFWC members, which also include Ardo, McCain, Sodexo and SCA, have the largest geographical food services footprint in the world and have the potential to act at each step of the value chain.
The IFWC’s president Damien Verdier said: “We have a big ambition for the coalition. We truly believe that the collective organisation that we are creating will provide efficient solutions to the food waste challenge.
"A challenge which must not be underestimated, both in terms of the impact on the climate and its natural resources, and the big question of ‘how will we feed the world in 2050?’.”
The coalition aims to promote food programmes throughout the food and drink sector in an attempt to reduce the growing worldwide food waste problems. Currently, more than 30% of food produced goes uneaten and wasted despite the fact that over 800 million people suffer from hunger and malnutrition. The rising population (set to jump from seven billion to 9.6 billionn by 2050) only heightens this problem.
Farm to fork
The IWFC highlights that food waste occurs throughout every phase of the industry’s supply chain from harvesting to consumption or farm-to-fork. Members of the coalition will engage with suppliers and external organisations, calling on them to take responsibility in their actions.
The coalition, which is also collaborating with WRAP and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, is also lobbying for European legislation to be introduced that assists the fight against food waste. Currently, there is no uniform law in the EU addressing the liability of transfers of food donations.
Commenting on PepsiCo's membership, the group's senior director of environmental sustainability in Europe, Martyn Seal, said: “Effective collaboration amongst all stakeholders is essential for delivering a sustainable reduction in food waste across the total supply chain.
"Thanks to this important coalition, key companies are coming together to harness collective knowledge, utilise existing best practices and create engaging communication materials that will drive real action in reducing waste from ‘farm to fork’”.
Last week, WRAP initiated a meeting of key players from across the industry, to deliver a plan of working to identify tangible, industry led actions to maximise the amount of household and commercial food waste collected and recycled in England.
Marcus Gover, director at WRAP, said: “At present, just over 10% of household food waste is captured and recycled. This means that the majority is still ending up in the residual waste stream, which is a costly loss for local authorities and a missed opportunity for food waste recyclers.
"Keeping it out of landfill and channelling it into recycling is an urgent priority, which is why we need the whole sector to work together - and this is exactly what the new action plan is designed to achieve.”
Despite not being part of the coalition, many supermarkets are also taking steps to tackle food waste. Last week, for example, Marks & Spencer launched a nationwide food redistribution scheme which will pass surplus food onto a host of local charities.
Food and grocery businesses across the UK are also helping their employees to reduce their household food waste through a month-long campaign ‘Working on Waste’.