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First-ever global standard to measure food waste launched by international partnership


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A number of international organisations announced at the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) 2016 Summit that took place in Copenhagen that they were joining hands on the Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard. One member of the partnership, the World Resources Institute, said 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,” commented 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.” waste-FoodThe 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. The “new strong alliance” between public and private actors will provide an efficient answer to the global challenge of food loss and waste, 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 pressure on natural resources and contribute to realising 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.” International momentum to cut food loss and waste is growing, with governments and businesses making commitments to address this issue, said the institute. However, most do not know how much food is lost or wasted or where it occurs within their borders, operations or supply chains, the institute added. 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. The FLW Standard is also expected to 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% by 2025, with baselines and progress to be measured using the FLW Standard. Some companies, such as Nestlé and Tesco, were said to already be measuring and publicly reporting on their food loss and waste. Peter Bakker, President and CEO, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) said, “Wasting a third of the food we produce is a clear symptom of a global food system in trouble. The FLW Standard is pivotal to setting a reliable baseline for streamlined and efficient action on the ground for countries, cities, and small and big businesses along the food value chain. Together with tangible business solutions, the FLW Standard can help to significantly reduce food loss and waste around the globe.” “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,” stated Peter Freedman, Managing Director, The Consumer Goods Forum. “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,” commented Achim Steiner, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). “Measuring the level of food waste in a structured way is critical for developing effective strategies that focus on reducing food waste and monitoring progress at the business, national and EU level, as well as contributing to the achievement of SDG Target 12.3. The EU-FUSIONS' Food Waste Framework and Quantification Manual is fully synchronised with the Food Loss and Waste Protocol's FLW Standard. This enables users of the FUSIONS manual which are monitoring and reporting on food waste amounts and trends over time to be harmonized with the requirements of the global accounting and reporting standard,” said Toine Timmermans, Project Coordinator for EU-FUSIONS.