First-ever global standard to measure food loss and waste internationally introduced

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Food Loss + Waste Protocol (Source: World Resources Institute)

Copenhagen/Washington — A partnership of leading international organizations has launched the Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard at the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) 2016 Summit in Copenhagen. The FLW Standard is the first-ever set of global definitions and reporting requirements for companies, countries and others to consistently and credibly measure, report on and manage food loss and waste. The standard comes as a growing number of governments, companies and other entities are making commitments to reduce food loss and waste.

“This standard is a real breakthrough. For the first time, armed with the standard, countries and companies will be able to quantify how much food is lost and wasted, where it occurs, and report on it in a highly credible and consistent manner,” said Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute. “There’s simply no reason that so much food should be lost and wasted. Now, we have a powerful new tool that will help governments and businesses save money, protect resources and ensure more people get the food they need.”

The standard will reduce economic losses

The Food Loss and Waste Protocol is a multi-stakeholder partnership convened by World Resources Institute and initiated at the 3GF 2013 Summit. FLW Protocol partners include: The Consumer Goods Forum, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), EU-funded FUSIONS project, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme) and World Resources Institute.

“Waste makes everybody poorer. I am pleased that a new strong alliance between public and private actors will provide an efficient answer to the global challenge of food loss and waste. 3GF has promoted yet another green and innovative solution to global challenges,” said Kristian Jensen, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Denmark. “The new Food Loss and Waste Standard will reduce economic losses for the consumer and food industry, alleviate the pressure on natural resources and contribute to realizing the ambitious goals set out in the SDGs. We need to push for more solutions like this for the benefit of people, profit and the planet.”

To compare data and develop strategies

International momentum to curb food loss and waste is growing with governments and businesses making commitments to address this issue. However, most do not know how much food is lost or wasted or where it occurs within their borders, operations or supply chains. Moreover, the definition of food loss and waste varies widely and without a consistent accounting and reporting framework it has been difficult to compare data and develop effective strategies.

Creating inventories in conformance with the FLW Standard is a critical foundation to develop effective strategies for reducing food loss and waste and monitor progress over time. Moreover, it can help governments and companies meet international commitments, including the Paris Agreement on climate change and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular, SDG Target 12.3 calls for a 50 percent global reduction in food waste by 2030, along with reductions in food loss.

The FLW Standard will also help reduce food loss and waste within the private sector. In 2015, The Consumer Goods Forum, which represents more than 400 of the world’s largest retailers and manufacturers from 70 countries, adopted a resolution for its members to reduce food waste from their operations by 50 percent by 2025, with baselines and progress to be measured using the FLW Standard. Some leading companies, like Nestlé and Tesco, are already measuring and publicly reporting on their food loss and waste.

A $940 billion problem

Peter Freedman, Managing Director, The Consumer Goods Forum, commented: “Food waste is a $940 billion problem. In 2015, our members committed to halving food waste and we see the FLW Standard as an important tool to help us achieve this ambitious target. Our members need to effectively quantify, measure and report on their food loss and waste, and the FLW Standard will help them do this with consistency and transparency.”

Dr. Liz Goodwin, Chief Executive Officer, WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme), argued: “WRAP’s work to help reduce household waste in the UK by 21 percent was only possible through our ground- breaking analysis to quantify how much and where it was wasted. Food waste is not confined by borders, so WRAP is delighted to have helped develop the Food Loss and Waste Standard. I am confident it will empower businesses, governments, and other organisations to take action on an international scale, an outcome that WRAP will strongly support.”

Achim Steiner, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP): “The scale of the problem of food loss and waste can be difficult to comprehend. Having this new standard by which to measure food loss and waste will not only help us understand just how much food is not making it to our mouths, but will help set a baseline for action. UNEP welcomes the new FLW Standard and calls on countries and companies to use it to start measuring and reporting food loss and waste, in parallel to taking action to deliver on SDG Target 12.3: Halve food waste by 2030.”

More information on the FLW Protocol can be found under flwprotocol.org; the FLW Standard can be found under wri.org.

Source: Global Green Growth Forum