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EU progress on cutting food waste “too slow,” says new report

July 2, 2020
Food & Drink

Six weeks after the publication of the EU Farm to Fork Strategy, a new report published today outlines the additional action still needed to put the EU on track to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target 12.3 and halve food loss and waste by 2030.

Reports authors, WWF and WRAP, slam the progress of reducing food waste, saying much more needs to be done to get a handle on the issue.

Food waste is estimated to cost the EU economy €143 billion (US$160 billion) per year, and is responsible for 15 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions associated with the food supply chain. A key element of the Farm to Fork Strategy, eliminating food loss and waste to the largest extent possible is an urgent and indispensable step towards more sustainable food in the EU.

The report by WWF and WRAP – Halving food loss and waste in the EU by 2030: the major steps needed to accelerate progress – analyzes the EU’s progress on Food Loss and Waste (FLW) and sets out clear guidance for governments, industry, researchers and NGOs on how to reach this target.

In the last few years, the EU has taken important steps to reduce FLW, and the Commission has announced further work in its Farm to Fork Strategy. But progress is still too slow and a pace change is needed.

The report identifies key interventions with high but still untapped potential to significantly reduce FLW along the whole supply chain. Such action needs to be boosted in the next decade and accompanied by a more conducive EU policy framework.

The main recommendations from the report in this regard are:

Measurement: Ensure the most consistent and robust measurement of FLW across EU Member States, to establish an accurate and reliable baseline of food waste levels for the Union.
Targets: Stimulate action by Member States with the announced setting in 2023 of EU targets for food waste reduction, which must be at least as ambitious as SDG12.3 and aim to halve food loss and waste from farm to fork and from bait to plate by 2030.
Business: As part of the initiative to improve the corporate governance framework, establish a requirement for businesses over a certain size to measure and report their company’s food waste figures.
Agriculture: Work closely with Member States and provide them with tailored recommendations so that Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funds are allocated to FLW prevention actions at farm level and early processing stages.
Valorization: Provide funding support to research and innovation in FLW, with a specific focus on the safe and efficient valorization of waste streams into processed food, animal feed, chemicals or other materials.

“There is a real opportunity to make food waste reduction one of the key ways we reduce greenhouse gas emissions and put our food system on a trajectory to a more sustainable future. But time is running out – we must all do our bit, and we must act now,” says Richard Swannell, Director at WRAP Global.

“The EU is implementing policies that will help, particularly by putting measurement at the heart of the strategy. The key next step is to support Member States to act quickly so as to hit the goal of halving food waste by 2030. This report outlines approaches that are proven to work and which will deliver rapid progress.”

“Reducing food waste seems to be a no-brainer, but we continue to put an impossible strain on our seas and land to produce food that never gets eaten. Such a leaky food system will never be sustainable. The EU must use all levers at hand to make sure that every actor in the food chain gets engaged and takes action,” adds Ester Asin, Director at WWF European Policy Office.

By: Gaynor Selby

Source: Food Ingredients First

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