Food giants across the US and UK continue to forge forward on efforts to drive down food waste and end hunger, rolling out new initiatives that align with the UN Sustainable Development Goal to halve food waste by 2030. The announcements coincide with a new global resolution launched by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), which calls on the private sector to halve food and agricultural losses by 2030 and work with suppliers and consumers to do the same.
Tesco has long been an active player in the global crusade against food waste — through its surplus food redistribution program, which began in 2015; and the appointment in 2016 of its CEO, Dave Lewis, as Chair of Champions 12.3 — but now the UK supermarket chain is taking its commitment to the next level, partnering with 24 suppliers, representing more than £17 billion in sales, to publish food waste data over the next year.
Tesco’s suppliers have pledged to reduce food waste within their own supple chains and will explore new ways to help shift consumer behavior. The initiative builds on the recent launch of Tesco’s food waste ‘hotline,’ which aims to help Tesco’s suppliers and producers identify and prevent food waste along the supply chain.
“Great progress has been made, but the reality is that we need many more companies, countries or cities committing to halve food waste by 2030, measuring and publishing their data and action on that insight to tackle food waste,” Lewis said at a Champions 12.3 meeting last week. “I am delighted that many of our major suppliers have taken this important step so we can work in partnership to reduce food waste.”
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Tesco also revealed that it is has now begun publishing its food waste data for its operations in the Republic of Ireland, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary.
“We have been challenging Tesco and other supermarkets on transparent reporting of food waste for years now. This commitment to ensure that supply chain waste is measured and reported makes Tesco the world-leading supermarket on transparent food waste reporting and represents a significant step towards meeting the global goal to halve food waste by 2030,” said Tristram Stuart, founder of Feedback and Toast Ale, both dedicated to ending food waste. “It’s time for other businesses to follow suit and for Tesco, along with the rest of the world’s supermarkets to demonstrate, if they can, that their businesses are not inherently wasteful.”
Meanwhile, Kroger Co. has announced a new national effort to end hunger in the communities in which it operates and eliminate waste across the company by 2025.
“No family in a community we serve should ever go hungry and no food in a store we operate should ever go to waste,” said Rodney McMullen, CEO and Chairman of Kroger. “More than 40 percent of the food produced in the US each year goes unconsumed, while one in eight people struggle with hunger. That just doesn’t make sense. As America’s grocer and one of the largest retailers in the world, we are committing to doing something about it.”
Across the US, 42 million Americans struggle with hunger. At the same time, an estimated 72 billion pounds of food ends up in a landfill every year.
Through its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan, Kroger has pledged to establish a $10 million innovation fund to explore to new ways to reduce hunger, food waste and the paradoxical relationship between the two, advocate for public policy solutions to address hunger and divert waste from landfills and partner with new and longstanding partners to identify new opportunities, leverage data and determine where by working together Kroger can make the biggest impact. Kroger also intends to:
- Accelerate food donations to provide three billion meals by 2025
- Donate both more food and more balanced, nutritious meals through its fresh food donations programs
- Achieve all Zero Waste 2020 goals outlined in the annual Kroger sustainability report
- Eliminate food waste by 2025
- Transform communities and improve the health of millions of Americans by 2025 by making balanced meals more readily available, sharing scalable food waste solutions with other retailers, restaurants and local governments and working within Kroger’s supply chain to reduce farm-to-fork food loss.
Kroger’s zero waste commitment sets a new standard for food waste reduction goals and the company hopes it will have a ripple effect across its supply chain, as well as the wider food industry.
“We don’t — and we won’t — have all the answers,” said Jessica Adelman, Group BP of Corporate Affairs at Kroger. “While we are clear about our vision, we are flexible about how to get there. We are working closely with both Feeding America and the World Wildlife Fund, our longstanding partners, to develop transparent metrics to track our progress.”
“And we are inviting everyone who is passionate about feeding people and protecting the planet to join us in our mission to end hunger in our communities and eliminate waste across our company by 2025.”
"Zero Hunger | Zero Waste is a vision for the America we want to help create with our associates, customers and stakeholders," McMullen added. "This is our moonshot.'"
"We recognize we have a lot of work to do. But we know when Kroger's more than 443,000 associates put their passion to work to make something happen, we can uplift our communities, the planet and each other."