A partnership of leading international public and private organizations launched the Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard at the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) 2016 Summit today in Copenhagen. The FLW Standard is the first-ever set of global definitions and reporting requirements for companies, countries and others to consistently and credibly measure, report on and manage food loss and waste. The standard comes as a growing number of governments, companies and other entities are making commitments to reduce food loss and waste.
“This standard is a real breakthrough. For the first time, countries and companies will be able to quantify how much food is lost and wasted, where it occurs, and report on it in a highly credible and consistent manner,” said Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the World Resources Institute (WRI). “There’s simply no reason that so much food should be lost and wasted. Now, we have a powerful new tool that will help governments and businesses save money, protect resources and ensure more people get the food they need.”
The Food Loss and Waste Protocol is a multi-stakeholder partnership convened by WRI and initiated at the 3GF 2013 Summit. FLW Protocol partners include: The Consumer Goods Forum, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), EU-funded FUSIONS project, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).
International momentum to curb food loss and waste is growing, with countries and companies making commitments to address the issue, and everyone from [Top Chefs](/news_and_views/waste_not/sustainable_brands/top_chefs_urge_congress_address_nation%E2%80) to startups looking to create solutions. However, most do not know how much food is lost or wasted or where it occurs within their borders, operations or supply chains. Also, the definition of food loss and waste varies widely, and without a consistent accounting and reporting framework it has been difficult to compare data and develop effective strategies.
Creating inventories in conformance with the FLW Standard is a critical foundation to develop effective strategies for reducing food loss and waste and monitor progress over time. Moreover, it can help governments and companies meet international commitments, including the Paris Agreement on climate change and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - particularly, SDG Target 12.3, which calls for a 50 percent global reduction in food waste by 2030, along with reductions in food loss.
“Waste makes everybody poorer. I am pleased that a new strong alliance between public and private actors will provide an efficient answer to the global challenge of food loss and waste. 3GF has promoted yet another green and innovative solution to global challenges,” said Kristian Jensen, Denmark’s Minister for Foreign Affairs. “The new Food Loss and Waste Standard will reduce economic losses for the consumer and food industry, alleviate the pressure on natural resources and contribute to realizing the ambitious goals set out in the SDGs. We need to push for more solutions like this for the benefit of people, profit and the planet.”
The FLW Standard will also help reduce food loss and waste within the private sector. In 2015, The Consumer Goods Forum, which represents more than 400 of the world’s largest retailers and manufacturers from 70 countries, adopted a resolution for its members to reduce food waste from their operations by 50 percent by 2025, with baselines and progress to be measured using the FLW Standard. Leading companies including Nestlé and Tesco are already measuring and publicly reporting on their food loss and waste. And a report released in March from ReFED — a collaboration of over 30 business, government, investor, foundation and nonprofit leaders committed to reducing U.S. food waste — found that cutting waste in the U.S. by 20 percent could generate $100B in cross-sector value.
WRAP CEO Dr. Liz Goodwin said: “WRAP’s work to help reduce household waste in the UK by 21 percent was only possible through our groundbreaking analysis to quantify how much and where it was wasted. Food waste is not confined by borders, so WRAP is delighted to have helped develop the Food Loss and Waste Standard. I am confident it will empower businesses, governments, and other organizations to take action on an international scale, an outcome that WRAP will strongly support.”
“We are pleased to have been the first UK retailer to publish third party-assured food waste data for our own operations and will continue to do so every year. This transparency and hard evidence is a cornerstone of our food waste work. Not only has this allowed us to identify where there are food waste hotspots in our own operations, it has also helped us to take action in those areas of food loss and waste,” said Tesco CEO Dave Lewis. “The new FLW Standard provides a common framework for measuring food loss and waste, and I hope this will enable others to publish their data and take action to tackle this important issue.”