The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) and PYXERA Global are partnering to offer unique and innovative ways for employees to give back.
One example is the Reimaging Green(er) Solutions to Hunger Challenge, which brought together five teams of 28 employees from various companies and sectors to think critically and provide climate-friendly solutions to hunger.
PYXERA Global is a nonprofit organization that facilitates partnerships among the public, private, and social sectors and leverages the unique attributes of each organization to tackle complex challenges. In January 2022, long-time partner PIMCO approached GFN with an opportunity for collaboration with PYXERA Global, which led to the launch of the challenge.
“We are well aware that the food bank model is a green solution to ending hunger, but food banks have room to lessen their impacts on the environment as well,” said Anthony Kitchen, GFN’s Network programs director. “So, when we came up with this question, we wanted to ask: As food banks expand their service and access to food, how can they do so in a more environmentally friendly way?”
Over the course of a month, employees from PIMCO, Bayer, Goldman Sachs, Western Digital, and Morgan Stanley set out to propose answers to that question. A team of food bank experts from GFN and member food banks joined them for conversations so they could better understand the unique challenges food banks face on a day-to-day basis.
Solutions ranged from a green certification program for member food banks to a mobile application that solves transportation and logistics issues to reduce food loss and waste to forming strategic partnerships to expand GFN’s reach across the food system.
Ultimately, the winning team, “Friends of Food Bankers,” recommended a two-pronged approach, which included the development of a measurement tool— the Food Bank Impact Calculator—and the formation of a Virtual Volunteer Corps. The idea is that food banks would be able to effectively monitor their environmental footprint through the calculator and report those results back to GFN. The data would be available to GFN and a professional network of global volunteers who could evaluate where food banks were experiencing difficulties then provide support to reduce environmental impacts.
GFN hopes to incorporate this and other ideas from the challenge into the services offered to member food banks in the future.
“We got a lot of really great ideas from these solutions,” said Kitchen. “It’s exciting and incredibly valuable because if implemented, this could help us provide better technical assistance on greener solutions to our food banks, ultimately enhancing our support to the Network.”