Cultivating Partnerships to Reduce Food Loss and Waste
April 20, 2022
Food banks are known for providing a unique green solution to hunger and food insecurity. They simultaneously reduce unnecessary food loss and waste by recovering perfectly edible food and grocery products and then redirecting them to people facing hunger.
However, food banks can’t do this alone.
The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) and member food banks know that real change can only be achieved by actively engaging the entire food system from farm to fork, by working with food producers and suppliers to increase donations and ensure food doesn’t go to waste. One approach to food systems change is the utilization of voluntary agreements.
Voluntary agreements mobilize businesses, governments, local authorities, and other stakeholders to reduce environmental impacts in key sectors of production and consumption. They enable action across the entire supply chain rather than just targeting one area. Globally, there are seven voluntary agreements specifically aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions caused by lost and wasted food.
Alongside WRAP, an organization dedicated to creating a world in which we source and use resources sustainably, GFN and food banks are working together to build these multilateral partnerships.
In 2021, WRAP launched FLAWLESS (Halving Food Loss And Waste by Leveraging Economic Systems), a project focusing on voluntary agreements in Indonesia, South Africa, and Mexico to halve food loss and waste by leveraging economic systems.
“Collaboration is key to tackling the environmental and social impacts of food loss and waste,” said Richard Swannell, WRAP’s international director. “WRAP is delighted to work in partnership with GFN on the international P4G FLAWLESS project. It’s clear that action is needed now and we look forward to collaborating further in future, working towards a sustainable and climate-friendly food system to help feed us all.”
As part of FLAWLESS, Pacto por la Comida was launched to reduce food loss and waste in Mexico by up to 50 percent in the next 10 years. Pacto por la Comida is a voluntary agreement led by Bancos de Alimentos de México (BAMX), GFN member and the national network of food banks in Mexico. The voluntary agreement includes signatures from 18 organizations, many of which include businesses in the food sector.
“As a food banking network, we now have the privilege to work closely with our partners and dig deeper into the issue of food loss and waste within each organization and support them better on their sustainability goals,” said Gabriella Rosato, coordinator for Pacto por la Comida.
In its first year, Pacto por la Comida has:
Developed monitoring and reporting systems for food loss and waste (FLW) activities among partner organizations, helping establish the quantity of FLW, identifying FLW hotspots and causes, and promoting internal dialogue around sustainability goals.
Created working groups to promote and increase food donation of safe, fresh food that would otherwise be lost or wasted, encourage and coordinate internal reviews of food donation policies, and establish goals and a timeframe to deliver results to the food banks. As a result of this initiative, Danone has committed to increase their donation volume by 22 percent in the first half of 2022.
Promoted cross collaboration among partners with open dialogue and shared learning experiences focused on FLW. For example, Unilever, Walmart, and Kellogg’s have combined forces to increase food donations and reduce FLW across their various levels of the supply chain.
“Through this agreement, we are building and strengthening relationships with our donors, based on trust and collaboration, to tackle the issue of food loss and waste,” said Rosato. “Since we launched, we have already seen an increase in donations to food banks across the network.”
GFN and partners like BAMX are continuously cultivating important partnerships and finding innovative ways to address the issue of food loss and waste, which leads to a healthier planet.