It doesn’t come as a surprise that food production has the largest environmental impact globally, compared to any other human activity. According to the UNEP, global food production is responsible for 70% of fresh water use and 80% of deforestation - creating approximately 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Nonetheless, growing demand means that production will only double in the coming years.
The main challenge remains mitigating this in a sustainable manner. In other words, more will need to be grown on less land whilst using less resources. The food waste crisis is staggering and the issues are so farfetched that no single entity or corporation can address them alone. Individuals and businesses alike continue to waste food as one billion people go to bed hungry, every single night.
Denmark is a great example of a nation-wide campaign that managed to radically reduce food waste. In a matter of five years, the country reduced wasted food by 25% (150,000 tons) and 4.4 million DKK (DAFC, 2015). A significant contribution towards the goal is also owed to local crusaders including Selina Juul, founder of Denmark’s biggest NGO tackling food waste, Stop Wasting Food Movement (Stop Splid Af Mad). The NGO established the first international ‘Think-Tank’ against food waste, contributing to increased awareness on material issues and minimising overconsumption.
Today, most Danish supermarket chains have an already well established food waste reduction strategy and over 300 restaurants offer free ‘doggy bags’. The Danish Prime Minister even placed food waste at the core of the political agenda. Throughout the country, hospitals, food services and even festivals are reducing food waste through different initiatives including consumer education campaigns enforcing collaboration across the entire value chain.
BMMI is aiming to launch its very own internal ‘Food Think-Tank’ to support our Food Waste Vision and hopes of halving food waste across the Group by 2020. This ‘Think-Tank’ will facilitate collaboration between our different departments and provide access to expertise from a variety of stakeholders.
The real challenge, nonetheless, also remains reforming the way we look at the value and implications behind the food we purchase and our roles as individuals in ensuring a more sustainable world. Accelerating progress toward achieving Sustainable Development Goals Target 12.3 by 2030 seeking to “ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”, we aim to set up a ‘Food Think-Tank’ with the IMS team to encourage collaboration in addressing the below:
Challenging the stereotype on ‘ugly’ produce
Reducing waste across the entire value chain
Donating food throughout the production line
Investing in on-site preservation and storage
Improving farmer access to education
Establishing low-waste incentives
Changing consumer perceptions
Investing in consumer education
If you’re passionate about food or simply think it’s about time to take a strong stance against wastage - whether it’s because of environmental, financial or humanitarian imperatives, send us your thoughts to email@example.com.