First Ever Global Standard to Measure Food Loss and Waste

New International Food Waste Standard Launched in Copenhagen

At the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) 2016 Summit, taking place in Copenhagen today, a number of international organisations announced that they are to join forces on the Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard.

Image © Christian Setiawan

At the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) 2016 Summit, taking place in Copenhagen today, a number of international organisations announced that they are to join forces on the Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard.

One member of the partnership, the Global Resources Institute, explained that the FLW Standard is the first ever set of global definitions and reporting requirements for companies, countries and others to consistently and credibly measure, report on and manage food loss and waste.

The standard comes as a growing number of governments, companies and other entities are making commitments to reduce food loss and waste.

“This standard is a real breakthrough,” commented Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute. “For the first time, armed with the standard, countries and companies will be able to quantify how much food is lost 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,” he continued. “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.”

Public-Private Alliance

Kristian Jensen, Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs said that the “new strong alliance” between public and private actors will provide an efficient answer to the global challenge of food loss and waste.

“The new Food Loss and Waste Standard will reduce economic losses for the consumer and food industry, alleviate pressure on natural resources and contribute to realising the ambitious goals set out in the SDGs,” the minister continued. “We need to push for more solutions like this for the benefit of people, profit and the planet.”

The institute added that international momentum to cut food loss and waste is growing, with governments and businesses making commitments to address this issue.

However, the organisation added that most do not know how much food is lost or wasted or where it occurs within their borders, operations or supply chains. Moreover, the definition of food loss and waste varies widely and without a consistent accounting and reporting framework it has been difficult to compare data and develop effective strategies.

Bean Counting

According to the GRI, creating inventories in conformance with the FLW Standard is a critical foundation to develop effective strategies for reducing food loss and waste and monitor progress over time.

Moreover, it said that this can help governments and companies meet international commitments, including the Paris Agreement on climate change and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular, SDG Target 12.3 calls for a 50% global reduction in food waste by 2030, along with reductions in food loss.

The FLW Standard is also expected to help reduce food loss and waste within the private sector. In 2015, The Consumer Goods Forum, which represents more than 400 of the world’s largest retailers and manufacturers from 70 countries, adopted a resolution for its members to reduce food waste from their operations by 50% by 2025, with baselines and progress to be measured using the FLW Standard.

Some companies, such as Nestlé and Tesco, were said to already be measuring and publicly reporting on their food loss and waste.

Peter Bakker, President and CEO, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

commented
“Wasting a third of the food we produce is a clear symptom of a global food system in trouble. The FLW Standard is pivotal to setting a reliable baseline for streamlined and efficient action on the ground for countries, cities, and small and big businesses along the food value chain. Together with tangible business solutions, the FLW Standard can help to significantly reduce food loss and waste around the globe.”

Paul Bulcke, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé:
“As a member of Champions 12.3, I am convinced that by working together, we can develop effective solutions to reduce food loss and waste, to help the world meet Sustainable Development Goal Target 12.3. Nestlé will play its part. Bold action is what matters, and we are already committed to sending zero waste for disposal from our sites by 2020. Such actions benefit society by supporting rural development, water conservation and food security, and help us ensure that our sourcing is more sustainable. The Food Loss and Waste Protocol is instrumental to help us achieve this goal.”

Peter Freedman, Managing Director, The Consumer Goods Forum added:
“Food waste is a $940 billion problem. In 2015, our members committed to halving food waste and we see the FLW Standard as an important tool to help us achieve this ambitious target. Our members need to effectively quantify, measure and report on their food loss and waste, and the FLW Standard will help them do this with consistency and transparency.”

Dr. Liz Goodwin, Chief Executive Officer, WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme) commented:
“WRAP’s work to help reduce household waste in the UK by 21 percent was only possible through our ground-breaking analysis to quantify how much and where it was wasted. Food waste is not confined by borders, so WRAP is delighted to have helped develop the Food Loss and Waste Standard. I am confident it will empower businesses, governments, and other organisations to take action on an international scale, an outcome that WRAP will strongly support.”

Achim Steiner, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP):
“The scale of the problem of food loss and waste can be difficult to comprehend. Having this new standard by which to measure food loss and waste will not only help us understand just how much food is not making it to our mouths, but will help set a baseline for action. UNEP welcomes the new FLW Standard and calls on countries and companies to use it to start measuring and reporting food loss and waste, in parallel to taking action to deliver on SDG Target 12.3: Halve food waste by 2030.”

Dave Lewis, Chief Executive Officer, Tesco said: “This transparency and hard evidence is a cornerstone of our food waste work. Not only has this allowed us to identify where there are food waste hotspots in our own operations, it has also helped us to take action in those areas of food loss and waste. The new FLW Standard provides a common framework for measuring food loss and waste, and I hope this will enable others to publish their data and take action to tackle this important issue.”

Toine Timmermans, Project Coordinator for EU-FUSIONS concluded: “Measuring the level of food waste in a structured way is critical for developing effective strategies that focus on reducing food waste and monitoring progress at the business, national and EU level, as well as contributing to the achievement of SDG Target 12.3. The EU-FUSIONS' Food Waste Framework and Quantification Manual is fully synchronized with the Food Loss and Waste Protocol's FLW Standard. This enables users of the FUSIONS manual which are monitoring and reporting on food waste amounts and trends over time to be harmonized with the requirements of the global accounting and reporting standard.”

 

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