We welcome today’s announcement that five major Irish retailers have signed up to the Government’s Food Waste Charter and agreed a common methodology for the reporting of food waste within their businesses.
The retailers involved are part of the Retail Action Group, established by Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten. All five have today signed the EPA Food Waste Charter which commits them to a common and long-term approach to tackling food waste in the sector.
Welcoming the announcement, Iseult Ward, leading food waste expert and FoodCloud CEO, said “FoodCloud has been an active contributor to the Retail Action Group, advising in the area of measurement methodologies since its establishment, and therefore, we welcome today’s announcement. As recommended by the Citizen’s Assembly in November, measurement will allow businesses to make smart decisions about how to reduce food waste and take meaningful action.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 challenges nations including Ireland to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030 and the Food Waste Charter will help us to formally identify the key areas where change is needed, and crucially, to make those changes. We look forward to continuing our work with the retailers involved today.”
Ward continued, “Tackling food waste is a no-brainer for any business. Not only is it hugely positive for the environment, it enables a more secure food system which is essential if we are to feed 9 billion people by 2050. The international food waste expert group Champions 12.3, has identified that for every €1 spent on food waste reduction, businesses realise a €14 return, meaning that even small changes can significantly impact the bottom line.”
FoodCloud now sits on the European Union Platform for Food Loss and Waste. Through this work FoodCloud has been able to take some of the best practices happening at a European level and encourage the key stakeholders in Ireland to take action.
Ward drew attention to the topic of measurement in 2017 when she addressed the National Food Waste Forum. Subsequently she has presented on the WRI’s Food Loss and Waste Protocol to the Retail Action Group.
In November she spoke to the Citizen’s Assembly about the importance of food waste measurement, with 93% of the Members recommending that the State should introduce a standard form of mandatory measurement and reporting of food waste at every level of the food distribution and supply chain, with the objective of reducing food waste in the future.
The scale of food waste is not well understood, the World Resource Institute reports that globally food we don’t eat accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, indicating that if food waste were a country it would be the third largest emitter behind only the US and China. 30% of the food produced in the world is never eaten.
Ward is encouraged to see that the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly are being adopted voluntarily by the key actors in Ireland’s food system. “As a food producing nation Ireland needs to understand the importance of measuring and tackling food waste if it wants to be truly recognised internationally as a leader in sustainable food production. Arguably retailers have the largest influence over our food chain and by taking this first step we are encouraged that their supply chains will follow suit so that we see meaningful progress to SDG 12.3.”