Advancing Food Banks

G20 Countries Must Adopt Strong Food Donation Policies: 2023 Update

As the world’s major developed and emerging economies, the countries of the G20 play a strategic role in shaping a sustainable future for people and the planet. Today, climate change, food insecurity, conflict, and other crises continue to threaten human progress and our future. Strong food donation policies—which can effectively encourage food donation and thereby reduce food loss and waste and rates of hunger—are critical to ensure everyone has enough to eat, now and into the future.

Ahead of the 2023 G20 Summit taking place 9-10 September 2023 in New Delhi, India, we’re urging leaders to recognize the role strong food donation laws and policies play in reducing both food insecurity and food loss and waste.

As many as 735 million people face hunger worldwide while one-third of all food is lost or wasted. According to estimates by the UNEP, if just one-quarter of the food currently lost or wasted was recovered, it could feed 870 million people and prevent the emission of greenhouse gases associated with food loss and waste.

The recovery and redistribution of food, through food banks and other organizations, simultaneously address the issues of food waste and food insecurity. However, uncertainty surrounding food donation laws and policies hinders these efforts and can create obstacles for businesses and others seeking to donate food.

Research from The Global Food Donation Policy Atlas, a joint project between The Global FoodBanking Network and Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, identifies and explains laws relating to food donation, analyzes the most common legal barriers to promoting greater food donation, and shares best practices and recommendations for overcoming these barriers.

Our updated brief, “Global Food Donation Policy Best Practices: G20 Focus,” gives an overview of the current food donation policy environment in G20 countries for which Atlas research exists—including India, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The brief highlights best practices in food donation laws and policies from G20 countries and offers recommendations for all countries to better encourage the donation and recovery of food, including:

  • Guidance on food safety for donated food
  • Strong liability protections for donors
  • Clear guidance on date labeling that allows for the donation of safe, edible food after the quality-based date
  • Tax incentives and the removal of barriers to donation
  • Government grants and incentives for food donation
  • National laws and policies on food waste

As millions of people are facing hunger—worsened by climate change, conflict, and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis—the work of food banks and food recovery organizations are critical now more than ever before. Effective food donation laws and policies are crucial to supporting that important work—and such actions require a concerted effort from government stakeholders. We’re looking to G20 countries to lead the charge in advancing food donation recovery and urging other countries to follow suit.

Read the Report

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