How Brambles Partners with Food Banks to Reduce Food Loss & Waste
September 21, 2022
Each year, more than 1.6 billion tons of edible food —approximately one-third of food produced for human consumption —is lost or wasted while millions of people face hunger.GFN and partner food banks work with businesses all along the supply chain—from farmers to the food service industry—to recover wholesome food and distribute it to people experiencing hunger.
For example, GFN partners with Brambles, a global supply chain logistics company operating in 60 countries primarily through its CHEP brand, that aims for a net positive impact through its business activities to pioneer regenerative supply chains. Brambles’ reusable pallets and containers form the invisible backbone of global supply chains, primarily serving the fast‑moving consumer goods (FMCG), fresh produce, beverage, retail and general manufacturing industries. Its circular business model facilitates the ‘share and reuse’ of the world’s largest pool of reusable pallets and containers.
For GFN partner food banks, these reusable pallets, donated by CHEP, are integral to managing operations, ensuring products are safely moved and stored before distribution in their communities. Moreover, this is achieved while limiting the environmental impact of their logistics operations, since CHEP pallets are reusable instead of single-use.
But the partnership goes even further, with Brambles exchanging knowledge, contributing financially to GFN and partner food banks, participating in voluntary agreements, and encouraging its customers to consider donating surplus product to food banks.
A staff member organizes pallets of produce in Bancos de Alimentos de México’s warehouse. The food bank works to reduce food loss and waste through recovery and redistribution and at a systemic level through voluntary agreements. (Photo: Bancos de Alimentos de México)
Voluntary agreements are a tool to encourage collaboration among businesses, governments, local authorities, and other stakeholders to drive change. Food loss and waste voluntary agreements bring together parties from across the entirety of the food system. Through working together to tackle food loss and waste, impact can be achieved at a greater scale than stakeholders taking action individually. Bancos de Alimentos de México (BAMX), a GFN member and the national network of food banks in Mexico, has been leading a voluntary agreement called Pacto Por La Comida. This is the first voluntary agreement in Latin America and the Caribbean to address food loss and waste.
Pacto Por La Comida brings together Brambles’ local subsidiary, CHEP Mexico, and 19 other signatories like Unilever, Kellogg’s, and Walmart that have committed to set goals, measure progress, and act to halve food loss and waste in Mexico by 2030.
Just one year into this agreement, there is already significant progress. Some signatories are implementing donation processes for the first time or increasing donation volume, by as much as 13 percent.
BAMX, with partners, provides tailored technical assistance to signatories on food loss and waste measurement and reporting and collaboratively creates guidelines, manuals, communication campaigns, and webinars to support signatories in halving food loss and waste. Additionally, BAMX leads two working groups focused on food donation redistribution and measurement and reporting where participants share best practices, identify collective actions, and develop benchmarks.
Brambles has been a longtime supporter of GFN and its contribution to food banks worldwide is central to its sustainability program and its commitment to the circular economy. The organization is in a unique position to share its expertise in supply chains to help food banks reduce food waste while alleviating hunger. Within this context, it was natural that CHEP Mexico would become a signatory of Pacto por la Comida. As the key supply chain and logistics partner, Brambles leads discussion teams to improve supply chain efficiency, food transportation, and product labeling, and Silvia Suárez, CHEP LATAM Senior Director for Sustainability, Strategy, and Marketing, is the honorary president and will lead the expansion of Pacto.
GFN and partners like Brambles are continuously finding innovative ways to address the issue of food loss and waste, which leads to a healthier planet and healthier communities.