Climate Change Mitigation

G20 Countries Must Adopt Strong Food Donation Policies

As the world’s major developed and emerging economies, the countries of the G20 hold a strategic role in shaping a sustainable future for people and the planet. Strong food donation policies—which address pressing issues like food loss and waste, food insecurity, and climate change—are critical to this future.

Ahead of the 2022 G20 Bali Summit, 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 828 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 latest 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—Argentina, Australia, Canada, India, 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 effects of COVID-19—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.

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