Global food waste reduction

WRAP has been working with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) since 2013 supporting their global food waste prevention programme.  

May 2014: global guidance 

WRAP has worked in collaboration with UNEP and the FAO to produce a food waste prevention guidance document.  It is aimed at governments, local authorities, businesses and other organisations and is to be shared on a global scale.

The first of its kind tool provides clear and comprehensive steps for public and private sectors to develop strategies, programmes and activities to prevent and reduce food and drink waste, resulting in associated financial savings, reductions in environmental impacts and increased food and nutrition security.

January 2013: partnership working

WRAP signed an exciting partnership agreement with UNEP to work together to develop a plan for a global food waste reduction programme. This includes supporting a new global campaign: Think.Eat.Save.  Reduce Your Foodprint.

The campaign reduces food waste around the world and was launched on the 22 January 2013 in Geneva by UNEP and the FAO; in partnership with WRAP, Feeding the 5000, and many other supporters.  It is part of the SAVE FOOD Initiative of the FAO and the trade fair organiser Messe Düsseldorf.  The campaign specifically targets food wasted by consumers, retailers and food manufacturers and the hospitality industry.

Worldwide Food Waste Problem

Worldwide about one-third of all food produced – equivalent to 1.3 billion tonnes – gets lost or wasted in the food production and consumption systems, according to data released by FAO.  Wasting food means wasting money both at the household level and in businesses throughout the supply chain – around US$1 trillion worldwide.

“In a world of seven billion people, set to grow to nine billion by 2050, wasting food makes no sense – economically, environmentally and ethically,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

“Aside from the cost implications, all the land, water, fertilizers and labour needed to grow that food is wasted – not to mention the generation of greenhouse gas emissions produced by food decomposing on landfill and the transport of food that is ultimately thrown away,” he added. “To bring about the vision of a truly sustainable world, we need a transformation in the way we produce and consume our natural resources.”

Simple actions by consumers and retailers can dramatically cut the food lost or wasted each year.  The average UK family could save £700 per year, the UK hospitality sector could save £724 million per year by tackling food waste and the value of waste in the manufacture and retail of food and drink in the UK is £5bn.  

“In the UK we have shown how tackling food waste through engaging with consumers and establishing collective agreement with retailers and brands, reduces environmental pressures and aids economic growth,” said Dr. Liz Goodwin, CEO of WRAP. “With a rising population, even more pressure is going to be put on resources, and we are excited to be a partner in UNEP and FAO’s Think. Eat. Save. campaign, which is a great start to tackling food waste on a global scale.”

Together we can tackle it

This campaign can make a huge difference, if everybody gets involved.  There are plenty of initiatives flourishing already around the globe. This campaign is also a way to link them together and to share tips, experiences and good practice.

The campaign website, www.thinkeatsave.org, allows users to make food waste pledges and provides a platform for those running campaigns to exchange ideas and create a truly global culture of sustainable consumption of food.

WRAP has a wealth of resources available to support this work – businesses can find research and guidance at www.wrap.org.uk/food and consumers can find a wealth of tips at www.lovefoodhatewaste.com

We all need to THINK about and be mindful of our food consumption patterns, we all need to EAT, and we all need to SAVE food, especially in developed countries and among the middle classes of the developing ones. If we can ‘Reduce our Foodprint’, we can reduce humanity’s impact on our planet.
Visit www.thinkeatsave.org and www.fao.org/save-food.