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Danish companies take action to reduce food loss and waste

Some of Denmark’s largest companies in the food industry are, together with nonprofits Stop Wasting Food and The Danish Food Bank, gathering companies and consumers in the fight against food waste. Their goal is to halve food loss and waste by 2030.

In the national partnership Denmark Against Food Waste, several of the biggest Danish food suppliers and stores have agreed to create more transparency around food loss and waste (FLW) and actively work to reduce individual levels. Concretely, they will measure annual FLW, publish data on the amount of FLW and take steps to reduce the amount of useable food thrown out.

Consumers can share and receive good advice from Denmark against Food Waste on how to save more food, while the companies that are part of the initiative have committed themselves to making data on their business food freely available. Data will be verified by auditors, and consumers can track individual business progress on the partnership’s website, to see if they are meeting their promises to reduce food waste by 2030.

Reducing food loss and waste is a UN Sustainable Development Goal

Every day 2,000 tonnes of food are thrown away in Denmark, and the annual amount of food going to waste every year reaches 7,000 tonnes. The initiative, Denmark against Food Waste, contributes directly to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of reducing food waste and securing responsible consumption and production.

Danish supermarket chains Netto, Føtex and Bilka, which are part of Salling Group, have experienced positive effects from making their FLW data available. Since 2014, the chains have been publishing detailed information on how much of their produce goes to waste, which has resulted in reducing their waste to 30,963 tonnes in 2017, a number which is 12,000 tonnes less than it was in 2014.

Lowering our carbon footprint via the reduction of food loss and waste

On the project’s official website, Denmark Against Food Waste, Nestlé describes their reason for joining as the following. “Food loss is unfortunately much more than waste of precious food – it involves a waste of labour, of natural resources and energy during, for example, production and transportation. To top it off, by 2050, we will add approximately 3 billion inhabitants more to the globe. This is why we need to do something against food waste, both now and in the future”, says Henriette Kjær Schmidt, country manager at Nestlé.

The use of water, energy, fertilisers and pesticides during the food process, substantially increase our carbon footprint. Preventing food loss will alleviate overconsumption of scarce resources and thereby reduce pollution, energy consumption – all of which will have a beneficial impact on the planet.

Reducing FLW not only fosters sustainable growth, it also has an impact on global competitiveness and generates employment. On a global level it would mean saving efficiently food for human consumption, save money and a lower environmental impact. Stopping or limiting FLW not only contributes to reducing our carbon footprint, it also allows the average Danish family to save almost 1,000 EUR a year on food shopping.

Facts about the initiative

Denmark against Food Waste is the first initiative in the country that gathers food actors to make their data on FLW available. From today, all interested companies and consumers can participate and contribute; this will create a forum where everyone can freely obtain information on FLW.

To become a partner, companies must commit to the United Nations SDG on reducing their food waste by 2030, and to measuring their food waste and publishing the results on an annual basis. Each year companies will need to report their food waste in weight, explain their accounting methods and provide documentation that an independent third party has validated their data.

Read more about the initiative Denmark against food waste here (in Danish)

Source: State of Green