FROM STRATEGY TO ACTION: LOCAL SOLUTIONS FOR FOOD WASTE REDUCTION
Food loss and waste (FLW) have emerged as critical challenges in recent years, with far-reaching environmental, social, and economic implications. FLW also represents a significant loss of resources, contributes to environmental degradation, and exacerbates food insecurity. Reducing food loss and waste is essential for safeguarding the global food system. It requires collaboration and effective strategies at all levels of households, businesses, and governments.
To effectively address the global issue of food loss and waste, we must first understand its causes and extent throughout the supply chain. The 2021 UNEP Food Waste Index Report revealed the alarming extent of food loss and waste, calling for urgent action. The report highlighted the staggering statistics, indicating that approximately 17% of all food available to consumers goes to waste. This translates to nearly one billion metric tons of food annually. The report also pinpointed key areas within the supply chain where significant losses occur, such as post-harvest handling, transportation, and consumer behaviour. Reducing food losses and waste not only has the potential to contribute to food security but also plays a substantial role in climate change mitigation and protection of our biodiversity. In response, the Global Opportunities for Sustainable Development Goals (GO4SDGs) initiative, in partnership with 10YFP and WRAP, established Regional Food Waste Working Groups in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and West Asia. The working groups are strengthening capacities of member states for measuring food waste and developing strategies to reduce it, responding to SDG12.3. These working groups are also generating peer-to-peer learning, by sharing best practices, promoting knowledge and tools to scale up action and access to finance. By bringing together stakeholders from different sectors, including government agencies, food industry representatives, research institutions, and civil society organizations, these working groups create a platform for collaboration and coordination at the regional level in tackling food waste. “We are happy to celebrate the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction and to share ACTION!! GO4SDGs, in cooperation with 10YFP and WRAP, are increasing capacities at the national and reginal levels to measure and reduce food waste, through national strategies and various inspiring stories and partnerships with government, private sector and/or civil society, as is the case of Recipe for Change. This is contributing to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, which calls for halving food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reducing food losses along production and supply chains by 2030” says Adriana Zacarias, Head of GO4SDGS initiative and Deputy Head of 10YFP. The efforts of regional working groups have proven to be effective in addressing region-specific challenges and finding localized solutions. So far, the regional working groups have brought together 250 participants from 25 countries from Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean, and West Asia.
In West Asia, the group gave rise to the Recipe of Change campaign to reduce food waste, bringing together nine Top Chefs from the region, engaging consumers and the hotel industry. The Hilton Hotels and Winnow (an artificial intelligence company) have joined forces in tracking and reducing food waste in the Green Ramadan Campaign. The campaign was a success, achieving Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash a 61% reduction in food waste in three hotels. This translated into over 8,600 saved meals, almost 4.8 tonnes of waste prevented, and over 14 tonnes of CO2e emissions averted.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, 16 member states have successfully developed National Food Waste Measurement Plans, laying the groundwork of comprehensive National Food Waste Reduction Strategies. In partnership with FAO, IDB and WWF, over 100 representatives from 9 LAC countries are converging in a series of workshops, going from capacity-building to the development of National Food Waste Reduction Strategies; and fundraising. This community of practice brings knowledge and inspiration from 31 national and regional institutions, to make significant strides towards the ambitious goal of halving food waste.
The Asia Pacific working group has over 50 members from nine countries and have shared innovative approaches and best practices on public-private partnerships and consumer behaviour change initiatives. This group has amplified some inspiring practices such as the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Food Waste Management Program which has been running experiments with household waste by weight and food waste separation in 4 pilot districts with 1100 households. This is showing the efficacy of ‘nudges’ and incentives for food waste reduction.
In Africa, the working group gathers experts from seven countries, and has also shared inspiring initiatives in the region. One such initiative is the peer education program at Moshi Cooperative University in Tanzania, which aims at educating students about food waste through practical demonstrations and a culture of sharing in learning institutions. This initiative aims at engaging 5,000 students from 15 education institutions to embrace food sharing and sustainability practices. This could lead to a 10% reduction in plate food waste and a 15% increase in food access for people in need. GO4SDGs is supporting the scale up and replications of this initiative in other East African countries.
The Regional Food Waste Working Groups are increasing capacity and taking concrete steps to advance the SD 12.3. Together, we are building a more sustainable and nourished world.
International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste associated events: https://www.stopfoodlosswaste.org/international-day/associated-events
UNEP’s Food Waste Index Report: https://www.unep.org/es/resources/informe/indice-dedesperdicio-de-alimentos-2021
To be part of the GO4SDGs Regional Working Groups contact email@example.com