The issue of food waste is something of a hot topic these days, from proposed regulations overseas to the ugly-food movement and the startups it has already spawned. This attention is well deserved. Besides the tragedy of waste in a world where 800 million still go hungry, wasted food also produces 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions and costs $940 billion worldwide every year.
The micro-movements that have sprung up on this front are important, but they face some major hurdles, even as more governments and large organizations commit to joining the cause. Most notably, food waste is extremely difficult to track and report on. Since it occurs all along the supply chain, and often across borders, the costs associated with this waste are typically baked into other operational costs and nearly impossible to quantify. Until now, there has been no consistent reporting standard on the issue.
To address this, a partnership of international organizations convened at the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) 2016 Summit in Copenhagen to come up with the first-ever set of global definitions and reporting requirements for companies, countries and others to consistently measure and report their food waste. Such standards will be crucial to measure the success of all these organizations as they make commitments to improve. Many major international organizations, including the UN, Consumer Goods Forum, and World Business Council for Sustainable Development, are already behind the coalition’s Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard (FLW Standard).
The new standard will have the greatest impact on large corporations and governments, but food waste is a costly issue for all retail and restaurant businesses as well. We recommend following the lead set at the 3GF Summit, and making a commitment to tackle waste on a small scale as well.
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