Resource Use

Roadmap to tackle food waste worldwide launched with initial $300M funding

International partnership, including the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), aims to highlight scope for philanthropic support in tackling food loss and waste before it reaches the plate.

Food wasteThe roadmap - ‘Reducing Food Loss and Waste - A Roadmap for Philanthropy’ - sets out how governments, the private sector and philanthropists can work together to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while improving global food security, nutrition and incomes.

With contributions from over 50 global organisations – including US-food waste NGO ReFED, the Food and Land Use Coalition, WRAP and the World Resources Institute – the initiative describes strategies for tackling the loss of food on farms, as well as in the supply chain and point of sale. 

More than one-third of global food produced is never consumed. This has critical consequences for the environment; at least 10 per cent of global emissions are caused by food waste. The roadmap highlights that just five regions are responsible for over half of these emissions: China, the European Union, India, the United States and Brazil.

The loss of food on farms and in supply chains, along with waste at the retail and consumer levels, not only deprives farmers of income and costs consumers money but also worsens biodiversity loss. All of this occurs amid a global scenario where 700 million people are experiencing hunger.

The report cites successful efforts in the UK, Japan and South Korea, alongside multinational companies that showcase that food waste can be substantially reduced. However, it emphasises that a one-size-fits-all solution is non-existent and that strategies must be altered to fit the socio-cultural and economic context of its nation.

The roadmap aims to highlight the potential role of philanthropy and charitable giving to make a difference against metrics across the triple bottom line. It provides recommendations focusing on five central pathways:

  • Set policy to drive action;
  • Reduce food loss on farms and in production;
  • Change how the private sector operates;
  • Change consumer behaviour and culture;
  • Support people who can coordinate work.

Implementing projects in these areas will contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.3.

Speaking on the need to reduce food waste, Dana Gunders, Executive Director of ReFED said: "Food waste is a solvable problem, and philanthropic funding is critical to developing and scaling solutions.

“This new roadmap shows where funding can have the greatest impact in the immediate future and outlines a clear path to achieve measurable progress. It is an essential contribution to reaching our global food waste reduction goals.”

WRAP role

David Rogers, International Director of WRAP, said: “WRAP is pleased to be working with other world-leading experts and forward-thinking philanthropists on this crucial issue because we won’t halt climate change if we don’t fix our failing food system.

“WRAP has shown what can be done when we bring together the right actors. The UK has seen more than 30 per cent reductions in retail and manufacturing waste and significant reductions in household food waste over time. Over the past 6 years, our voluntary agreement model has been successfully deployed in more countries as we work with brilliant national partners to deliver change.

“We know this approach works, but we must increase the scale and pace of efforts to have any chance of meeting SDG 12.3. This roadmap shows the way. We now need donors to be the catalyst for change that the world so urgently needs.”

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