More companies to publish food waste data

Nestlé, Unilever, Walmart and Tesco are among big names signed up to ambitious reduction targets. By David Burrows.

There has been a flurry of food waste announcements in the past week, which will see more companies come under pressure to not only measure and manage their waste but to publish data on it and be held to account against steep reduction targets.

Waste data transparency. Almost two-thirds of the world’s largest 50 food companies are now participating in programmes with a food loss and waste reduction target, according to the Champions 12.3 progress report. Ten of the firms have not only set targets to halve their food waste by 2030 – in line with the Sustainable Development Goal target 12.3 – but also committed to publish the food waste data for their operations within the next 12 months. The firms include: Sodexo, Danone, Kellogg Company, Nestlé, Tesco, Unilever, Walmart and the Campbell Soup Company.

Tesco forces suppliers to act. Ten of Tesco’s branded suppliers and 27 of its own-label suppliers will commit to target, measure and act and publish their food waste data within the next 12 months. Retailers and foodservice companies have been criticised for not publishing data on their food waste. In 2013, Tesco became the first UK retailer to publish the amount of food wasted in its operations – but very few have since followed its lead. “We believe that what gets measured gets managed,” said the Tesco chief executive, Dave Lewis. “Ultimately, the only way to tackle food waste is to understand the challenge – to know where in the supply chain food is wasted.” The branded suppliers are: General Mills, Princes, Mars, Whitworths, Unilever, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, LRSuntory, Nestlé and KP Snacks. The own-label suppliers are: A Gomez, Espersen A/S, Allied Bakeries, AMT Fruit, Arla Foods, Bakkavor Group, Branston Limited, Cargill Meats Europe/Avara Foods, Cranswick PLC, DPS, Froneri, Glinwell, Greencore, Greenyard Frozen UK, G’s Fresh, Hilton Foods, Kepak Group, Kerry Foods UK & ROI, Moy Park, Müller Milk & Ingredients, Noble Foods Limited, Ornua, Premier Foods, Richard Hochfeld, Samworth Brothers, Seachill UK and Yeo Valley Farms (Production).

New UK roadmap and targets. Ninety companies have signed up to a new initiative launched by WRAP and IGD. The food waste reduction roadmap allows businesses to measure and report their data on food waste (from farm to fork) consistently. There is guidance available by sector, including specific reporting procedures for hospitality and foodservice. Those signing up commit to a food waste reduction target, which is to reduce food waste across their own UK operations by 50% by 2030, or set a target for reducing food waste that contributes to SDG12.3. They will also measure and report on their progress. By September 2019, the first major milestone on the roadmap, the aim is to have 50% of the UK’s largest 250 food businesses measuring, reporting and acting on food waste. With all 250 companies doing so by 2026. Foodservice and hospitality companies involved are: Accor Hotel Services, BaxterStorey, Bidfood, Brakes, Castell Howell Foods, Compass, ISS UK, Nando’s UK & Ireland, OCS Group, Pizza Hut Restaurants and Sodexo.

Scotland’s carbon footprint. The latest analysis of the whole-life carbon impacts of Scotland’s waste showed that food waste contributes more to Scotland’s waste carbon impacts than any other waste type. According to Zero Waste Scotland, food waste comprised 16% of household waste in 2017. Despite an overall reduction in household food waste, Scots recycled more food waste than ever before, up 7% from just one year earlier. In total, Scottish households prevented nearly 100,000 tonnes of food waste from going in the residual waste bin. The increase in recycling rates is due to more household food waste recycling collections being rolled out by Scotland’s local authorities. The report also shows the “disproportionate” impact of household waste compared with commercial waste: between 2011 and 2016, no more than 25% of Scotland’s waste has originated from households; however, over the same period the share of Scotland’s waste carbon impacts attributed to household waste has consistently increased. This is for two reasons: the waste from homes contains a higher proportion of carbon-intensive materials such as food, and the commercial sector recycling rate has outpaced that from households (26% versus 10%).

Global food waste map. WRAP also launched its Food Waste Atlas. Developed with the World Resources Institute, the atlas is the world’s first global reporting portal to allow the capture and reporting of global food loss and waste data in one place. Companies and governments will be able to publish and compare their data with others, including businesses supporting the UK roadmap. The site already contains data from all parts of the supply chain and from over 190 countries.  

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