Recap from Food Nation’s Global Food Talk “Innovations and solutions to reduce food loss and waste”
Food Nation hosted the third Global Food Talk on September 27 with opening speeches from the Danish Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Rasmus Prehn, and Head of Cities and Lifestyles at United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Martina Otto. Let us recap some main takeaways from our speakers.
With one-third of all food lost or wasted, representing a notable share of global greenhouse gas emissions, food loss and waste is one of the biggest global challenges and call for immediate action. In connection with the UN International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, Food Nation hosted the third Global Food Talk moderated by CEO, Lise Walbom, to gain knowledge on game-changing solutions, scalable actions and partnership models for sustainable development.
Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Rasmus Prehn, who gave the opening remarks, pointed out the importance, relevance and urgency of this topic as he said: “As the world’s population grows, the planet’s resources are coming under increasing pressure. Lost or wasted food could have fed many of the world’s hungry and malnourished people.”
An imperative to solving major crises
Finding solutions to the challenges concerning food loss and waste will further have a positive impact on the climate as food loss and waste is responsible for 8-10% of the total emissions of greenhouse gasses. “If food loss and waste were a country, it would be the world’s third-largest emitter of CO2,” said Danish Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Rasmus Prehn.
With nearly 690 million people suffering from hunger in 2019, which is further expected to rise sharply due to covid-19, reducing and preventing food loss and waste is everyone’s business making it an ethical issue as well according to Head of Cities and Lifestyles at UNEP, Martina Otto. “Throwing away food also means that we do forego circular economy opportunities by not putting the produce to the highest value usages,” she said. Further, she stressed how reducing food loss and waste serves as an imperative to solving the three major environmental crises of climate, nature and pollution while at the same time providing sustainable and healthy diets.
A need for measurement and innovation
The first fireside session was joined by Flemming Besenbacher, Chairman of the Board of Carlsberg Group and the Carlsberg Foundation and Think Tank on Prevention of Food Loss and Food Waste, ONE\THIRD and Liz Goodwin, Senior Fellow and Director, Food Loss and Waste at World Resources Institute. Flemming started out by stating that measurement is needed to set up targets. This makes it easier to follow up on the targets, identify needed action and come up with innovative solutions.
Liz Goodwin, Senior Fellow and Director, Food Loss and Waste at World Resources Institute further resonated the importance of measurement: “If you do not measure, you do not know where the problem is.” Flemming Besenbacher further underlined the importance of partnerships as no one can do it alone. “When we all start working together and having common goals as the SDGs, I believe we can manage this,” he said.
Companies contributing to food loss and waste
The total amount of food lost or wasted globally, corresponding to 1.6 billion tons of food, is altogether worth approximately $1.2 trillion USD. Reducing food loss and waste is therefore not only a necessary step to sustainable development, but also good business.
The second fireside session was joined by CEO of FOSS, Kim Vejlby Hansen, and CEO of Chr. Hansen, Mauricio Graber. To Kim Vejlby Hansen, it is a matter of classifying raw materials, optimising production so that everything is used in the best possible way together with helping consumers to eliminate waste. Reducing waste in production is for him the first step to tackle this challenge
At Chr. Hansen they work actively with this agenda as well. Mauricio Graber sees it as a commitment for Chr. Hansen to continue to develop good bacteria solutions through natural cultures that prevent spoilage of food. Thus, reducing food loss and waste requires innovative solutions and products throughout the value chain and by cross-collaboration and knowledge-sharing, it is possible to secure the highly needed transformative change according to the speakers.
International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste
Food Nation’s third Global Food Talk is a part of the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste 2021. In December 2019, the UN General Assembly announced 29 September as the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste. The day is intended to raise awareness of UN Sustainable Development Goal 12, target 12.3 to “halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses”.