Taking cognizance of the sheer quantities of food wasted every year, food and beverage industry leaders have pledged to cut down their food waste by as much as 25% by 2025. For a while now it has been expected that governments across the world will enforce regulations to stem this problem given its grave economic and environmental impact. The pledge was made by the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a Paris-based organization that has some 400 enterprises from the F&B sector as members. These members collectively represent 70 countries and bring to table sales worth US$2.8 trillion. The development was reported during a recent meeting of the Forum in New York.
According to the CGF, 2016 is when the member organizations would measure the baseline, and then build a comprehensive mechanism to monitor the progress of this pledge. Once the mechanism is firmed up, a public reporting system will also be put into place. The focus will be on helping companies cut food loss during the processing, production and shipment stages. Efforts are also afoot to understand how this wasted food can be re-used to the maximum extent.
According to Unilever’s chief executive Paul Polman, about 2 billion tons of food the world over never finds its way to a plate because it is wasted. He added that against the backdrop of mounting food insecurity and climatic changes, it was imperative to curtail the problem. Recent estimates published by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization state that about one third of all food produced across the world is wasted. The organization puts the worth of this wasted food at US$750 billion. The problem, ostensibly, doesn’t end there. The food the piles up in landfills releases a mind-numbing 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases.
The European Union has already asked its member states to begin working on a plan to reduce at least 30% food waste by 2025.