Panel Discussion on “Zero Waste: Food for Thought”
Since 1992, the EEG has actively engaged with the community by providing lectures to engage various stakeholders to discuss environmental issues. In the process of connecting academic institutions, individuals, private sector executives and noted dignitaries openly in conversation, EEG, in 2016, introduced a series of panel discussions during which experts from relevant fields are invited to impart knowledge and deliver presentations.
General objectives: • To promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) across various sectors. • To help stakeholders make informed decisions based on scientific knowledge. • To provide a platform of dialogue and exchange to expert business and government leaders, influential academics and researchers. • To share knowledge and knowhow of relevant environmental issues and technology among the different stakeholders within the community. • To inform the community about future trends and solutions regarding environmental challenges • To create an intellectual engagement platform with stakeholders. Specific objectives • Raise awareness through better coupling the food and agriculture sector with science, media and education. • Strengthen information platforms on sustainable food systems for extension and knowledge sharing amongst producers, consumers and other stakeholders. • Promote reliable and sustainable communication of food product information and awareness on the need to adopt sustainable diets. • Provide opportunities for networking and increase the access to actionable knowledge, information and tools to mainstream sustainable consumption and production (SCP) in food systems. • Encourage, facilitate and support inclusive multi-stakeholder dialogue to help inform interconnected policy-making towards sustainable food systems at local, regional and international levels. The third Panel Discussion for the year 2018 was held on the 27th of June under the theme – “Zero Waste: Food for Thought”. The main idea behind the event was to reflect on the virtues of the Holy month of Ramadan and address the importance of sustainable sourcing, production and consumption of food. The panel of experts comprised of speakers from Waste Management and Treatment at Dubai Municipality, Food Safety Department in Dubai Municipality, Centre of Waste Management – Abu Dhabi (Tadweer), Lulu Group International, Armani Hotel Dubai and Abela & Co. The panelists shared their unique best practices and challenges within wide-ranging disciplines in promoting sustainability along the food value chain, from farm to fork. This impactful event was attended by 70 guests from the private sector, government, academia and NGOs. The speakers addressed the audience on relevant issues related to the SDGs. Some important focus points included: 1. Lulu Group International: opened the discussion by addressing that customer service and food wastage fall hand in hand simultaneously and indicated that the premise of sustaining this balance is through addressing it by incorporating three key parameters Ownership, Opportunity, and Optimisation. 2. Abela & Co.: objectively elucidated the characterisation of food waste both at a pre and post-consumer level. The speaker provided examples of how Abela & Co. resolves food wastage at very point through recycling of Used Cooking Oil into bio-diesel, closely monitoring leftovers and feedback mechanism from customers, policies and prerequisite safety programmes, temperature monitoring, cold chain, good hygiene practices and transport standard. 3. Waste Management and Treatment expert from Dubai Municipality: presented his perspectives about the challenges of waste management, specifically highlighting the issues pertinent to organic waste. Dubai Municipality handles waste from the moment waste is generated till its final disposal, the food waste and organic waste makes up 22% of all wastage statistics increasing further to 55% in the festive seasons. He called for urgent actions to address the irresponsible consumption patterns. 4. Abu Dhabi Waste Management Centre: shed light on the need for awareness as the primary step towards addressing change toward sustainable food consumption. There has been a stark increase in irresponsible consumption between 2005 until 2017. EEG has several plans in the pipeline to increase the impact of its Panel Discussions. We would continue to invite private sector organisations and stakeholders to come on board through sponsorship and partnerships to further develop this important intellectual platform. We would like to invite like-minded partners and sponsors who will play an active role with us in bringing together a more diverse group of participants and speakers from the UAE and Middle East. We are also confident that with the right partnership, we can further expand this campaign to other Arab countries that are looking to bring about a change in behaviour to their communities and populations while promoting active sustainability.
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