Food waste is working its way up the sustainability agenda, and for good reason. The United Nations estimates 1.3bn tonnes of food is lost or wasted each year, equating to roughly one-third of the food produced for human consumption.
This represents an economic cost to the global economy of $940bn (€795bn), and an environmental cost of 3.3bn tonnes of greenhouse gasses per year.
Now, some of the world’s most influential businesses in the industry are coming together under a new coalition launched by membership body the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF).
In total, 14 retailers and manufacturers are supporting the Coalition of Action on Food Waste, including Nestlé, Tesco, Bel Group, Barilla, General Mills, Kellogg Company, and Sainsbury’s. The Coalition Steering Committee is co-chaired by Kellogg Company’s Global Sustainability Manager Francisco Cordero and Ahold Delhaize USA’s Vice President, Health & Sustainability, Brittni Furrow.
By joining the Coalition, members are committing to a series of objectives. These include publicly adopting and committing to a goal of halving food waste within their own operations by 2030 and striving to reduce food waste in their supply chain and at the customer level in alignment with SDG Target 12.3.
Members are also required to measure their food waste according to the Food Loss and Waste Standard and report their findings publicly. Innovating to help customers reduce food waste is also listed amongst the Coalition’s objectives.
For the CGF, the value of joining the Coalition for members is ‘clear’. “Reducing food loss and waste generates a ‘triple win’,” noted the membership body. “It can save money for retailers and manufacturers, farmers and households. It can help feed more people and it can alleviate pressure on water, land and climate.”
The CGF is also creating regional working groups to ‘drive implementation at the local level’ and help engage stakeholders in regions such as North America, Latin America, China, and Japan.
Nestlé, Tesco, and Bel Group weigh in
Food giant Nestlé said it is backing the Coalition to help support a ‘transformation’ of current food systems.
“Nestlé supports the CGF Coalition of Action on Food Waste as we need active collaboration to halve food waste by 2030, align public reporting, and ultimately enable a transformation of our global food systems that supports people and planet,” a company spokesperson told FoodNavigator.
France-headquartered cheese major Bel Group – owner of Babybel, Boursin, and La Vache Qui Rit brands – said that although the Coalition has only just launched, it has already had ‘very positive and concrete exchanges’ with all members. This has allowed the Coalition to define its priorities, covering harmonised reporting, supplier and stakeholder engagement, and addressing the subject of post-harvest loss.
“We will take the opportunity to be a member of this Coalition to share our experience, learnings and to listen to those of other members,” Group Sustainability Director Elodie Parr told this publication. “We are convinced that it will allow [the Coalition] to build concrete action plans to contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of halving per capita global food loss at the retailer and consumer level by 2030.”
CEO of the UK’s largest supermarket retailer Tesco, Dave Lewis, is co-sponsoring the Coalition. A company spokesperson told us the business has ‘no time for food waste’.
“We are pleased to be working in partnership with the CGF Coalition of Action on Food Waste to accelerate progress towards halving global food waste by 2030.”