How the new food loss and waste standard will reduce global food waste
Globally, an estimated one-third of all food is lost or wasted as it moves through the supply chain. Every year in the United States at least six billion pounds of fruits and vegetables gets wasted due to spoilage, reduced freshness and cosmetic defects.
The new food loss and waste standard has the potential to create a difference in food security.
In India and Africa, an estimated 40% of harvested produce is wasted. Yet still a whopping 800 million people worldwide are undernourished.
This massive food waste costs the world $940 billion per year. Additionally, food waste contributes to 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Clearly, food waste has dramatic consequences on the economy, the environment and on our health and wellbeing.
Solving this global problem will require a multifaceted approach on the consumer level, the retail level, production level and the governmental level.
A global partnership has been created in an effort to empower businesses and governments to reduce food
The Consumer Goods Forum, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, EU-funded FUSIONS project, United Nations Environment Programme, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Waste and Resources Action Programme and World Resources Institute have joined forces to develop the Food Loss and Waste Standard (FLW Standard), which sets global definitions and reporting requirements of food waste.
This will allow for companies and countries alike to measure, report and manage food waste in a consistent and credible manner.
The full 160-page report of the standards as well as an executive summary can be found here.
The website also offers a useful list of resources and tools for companies trying to measure and reduce their food waste and for those attempting to learn more about the causes, effects and magnitude of food waste.
Most countries do not know how much food is wasted or where it is occurring within their borders and the supply chain.
Being able to accurately measure and report on food waste will allow us to pinpoint areas of concern and take actions to reduce the waste.
Additionally, having a global definition of food waste will allow for more accurate data comparison, which, in the end, can help us develop better strategies to mitigate the issue and help us track our progress over time.
Widespread implementation of this standard should motivate and empower companies and countries to reduce food waste, which will offer economic benefits, reduce food insecurity, prompt more effective resource use and improve the environment.
Moreover, this standard will help governments and companies meet the Sustainable Development Goal Target 12.3 put forth by the Paris Agreement on climate change which aims for a 50% decrease in food waste worldwide by 2030.
The standard can help to reduce food waste in the private sector as well.
For example, Tesco and Nestle have begun measuring and reporting their food waste.
The FLW Standards also increases global awareness of the problem of food waste, which will hopefully prompt countries and companies to take action and initiate meaningful change.
Food waste is a complex issue with many causes at various levels throughout the supply chain.
Numerous companies and countries are working hard to find effective solutions and the development of this global standard is a step in the right direction.
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