Harvard Research Addresses Food Waste, Hunger, and Climate Crisis in Indonesia

The Global FoodBanking Network and the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic identify policy recommendations designed to decrease food waste, support food donation, and combat climate change in Indonesia.

September 15, 2022 (Indonesia) —Today, the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) and The Global FoodBanking Network released a new analysis on food donation laws and policies in Indonesia and recommendations designed to help reduce food waste, feed people experiencing hunger, and combat climate change. The research and recommendations are part of The Global Food Donation Policy Atlas, which maps laws and policies affecting food donation around the world.

About 20 million people in Indonesia, or 8% of the population, are unable to meet their nutritional needs every year, and stunting affects one-third of children under five years old. Yet, 48 million tons of food is either lost or wasted in Indonesia annually, worth between USD$15-39 billion or 4-5% of Indonesia’s GDP. Not only would redirecting edible food to food banks support people experiencing hunger and chronic malnutrition, but it would also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced from food ending up in the landfill.

While the Indonesian government has prioritized hunger reduction and food security, including by publishing a report on food loss and waste in 2021, no national plan or law has been adopted to prevent food loss and waste or promote food donation. The new resources from FLPC and GFN identify four key opportunities to help reduce food loss and waste, thereby addressing both food insecurity and climate change, including: 

  1. Indonesia could amend its food safety law to include a donation-specific chapter or draft new regulations that elaborate on food safety for donations. The government could also produce and disseminate clarifying guidance on food safety requirements relevant to donation.
  2. Indonesia could amend the law to establish a dual date labeling system that clearly distinguishes between safety-based and quality-based date labels. The government could also amend the law to permit food donation after the quality-based date.
  3. Indonesia could enact national legislation that establishes clear and comprehensive liability protection for food donors and food recovery organizations when they donate food that meets all safety rules.
  4. Indonesia could update its income tax deductions to provide a tax incentive for in-kind donations of food; to eliminate a current financial barrier to donation, it could also amend its VAT scheme to exempt donated foods from VAT.

“Indonesia can feed people experiencing hunger, reduce food waste and loss and help arrest climate change,” said Emily Broad Leib, clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School and faculty director of FLPC. “Indonesian leaders, like others around the world, can help by implementing good food donation policies. Our hope is that they read our research and are guided by our recommendations–developed in collaboration with Indonesian stakeholders–and take action.”

“In five years we distributed more than 490 tonnes of food, feeding more than 60,000 people from across the country from various backgrounds and needs. These numbers came from the collaboration between FoodCycle as a food bank and the private sector such as FMCGs, food retailers, restaurants, FnB industries, etc,” said Astrid Paramita, CEO and Co-founder of FoodCycle Indonesia. “We believe that the government participation could bring a catalyst effect to encourage more communities to be aware of the problems and also conduct an integrated plan to solve hunger, food loss, and waste in Indonesia.”

“Scholars of Sustenance Indonesia has always been committed to feeding communities in need in Bali and Indonesia through the collection and redistribution of edible surplus food from hospitality partners including hotels, restaurants, bakeries, and food manufacturers,” said Minni Vangsgaard, General Manager of Scholars of Sustenance Indonesia. “Since the beginning of our operations in 2016 (Bangkok) and 2017 (Bali, Indonesia) we managed to distribute globally a total of around 25 million meals. We believe that good food donation policies in Indonesia will encourage more food donations as well as encourage corporations, communities, and organizations to participate in tackling hunger, food loss, and food waste issues and addressing climate change.”“An estimated 702-828 million people are facing hunger globally, and that number is likely to rise as food price spikes, supply chain issues, and climate change continue to strain our food systems,” said Lisa Moon, president and CEO of The Global FoodBanking Network. “Food banks help ensure more people have access to food while also reducing food loss and waste. Strong food donation policies are absolutely critical to this work—they help food banks serve their communities in the most effective and efficient way.”

The Global Food Donation Policy Atlassupported by Walmart Foundation, identifies existing laws and policies that support or hinder food recovery and donation in a comprehensive Legal Guide and offers Policy Recommendations for strengthening frameworks and adopting new measures to fill existing gaps. The analysis featured in these country-specific reports are also encapsulated in an interactive atlas tool that allows users to compare policies between countries participating in the project.

Atlas project research is currently available for 18 countries, with more underway: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. An interactive map, Legal Guides, Policy Recommendations, and Executive Summaries for each country are available at atlas.foodbanking.org.


About The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy ClinicThe Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) serves partner organizations and communities by providing guidance on cutting-edge food system issues, while engaging law students in the practice of food law and policy. FLPC’s work focuses on increasing access to healthy foods, supporting sustainable and equitable food production, promoting community-led food system change,  and reducing waste of healthy, wholesome food. FLPC is committed to advancing a cross-sector, multi-disciplinary and inclusive approach to its work, building partnerships with academic institutions, government agencies, private sector actors, and civil society with expertise in public health, the environment, and the economy. For more information, visit chlpi.org/food-law-and-policy.

About FoodCycle IndonesiaFoodCycle Indonesia aims to break the hunger cycle of underprivileged communities by re-distributing untouched surplus food, re-processing imperfectly perfect produce, and recycling food waste. In connecting with those communities, we develop their knowledge, attitude, skills, and habits to positively impact themselves and to create a better society of Indonesia. For more information, visit foodcycle.id.

About Scholars of SustenanceScholars of Sustenance is a food rescue foundation redefining the way food is distributed in order to tackle the food deficit issue and put good nutrition into the hands of those who need it. For more information, visit scholarsofsustenance.org.

About The Global FoodBanking NetworkThe Global FoodBanking Network supports community-driven solutions to alleviate hunger in nearly 50 countries. While millions struggle to access enough safe and nutritious food, nearly a third of all food produced is lost or wasted. We’re changing that. We believe food banks directed by local leaders are key to achieving Zero Hunger and building resilient food systems. For more information, visit foodbanking.org.

decorative flourish

Related blogs

Back to News