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A Multi-stakeholder Approach to Food Waste, Meet Our New Expert Group

According to FAO’s data about one third of all edible food that we produce is lost or wasted. Food waste is a fundamental moral dilemma because in the world with a growing population and 800 million of chronically food insecure people, it is an inexcusable to waste food and resources.

Food waste reduction is now part of the Agenda 2030 and features in the Sustainable Development Goal 12, aiming to halve global per capita food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses. The need to find ways to reduce food waste is more in focus than ever. Many initiatives were launched around the world during the last 5 years, but few have specifically targeted global food chains and the related challenges. What are the needs of different actors along supply chain? How can high-income countries, like Sweden, support food waste reduction? Which role can the NGOs play in the context of food waste reduction in global food chains?

An overall goal of this Expert Group is to create a collaborative network to gather expertise for further development of knowledge and cooperation strategies in order to increase food security and resource efficiency through food waste reduction.

The group takes a holistic perspective on food waste, looking at entire value chains from producer to consumer. Such approach will also support development cooperation organizations in their work on developing food waste reduction strategies tailored to the needs of different actors.  The expert group will bring forward successful examples and list the needs for action. The plan is to map the current knowledge, collect good examples and identify research needs using the existing national and global network. Specifically the group has identified four possible entry points which need further development:

  • Is there a need for food waste certification systems? This has been suggested by the EU Commission as well as by the FAO. However, how could a well-functioning certification system be created, especially for a global setting?
  • What kind of projects need to be initiated regarding technical innovation and design?
  • Can Swedish resource and knowledge base support development cooperation organizations with tools and technologies for decreasing food waste, including post-harvest losses?
  • What type of interaction is needed and can communication tools be developed for lower food waste both in high- and low-income countries?

At the end of the project in August 2016, the Group will deliver the conclusions and suggestions for a way forward through a SIANI policy brief, workshops and a report. The long term ambition of the project is to contribute to new relations and by that create new projects and new opportunities.

The network is led by SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden in close collaboration with WWF together with a set of highly knowledgeable core of experts from Institute of Technology, Lund University, Swedish Agricultural University, Stockholm International Water Institute, Konsumentföreningen Stockholm, Karlstad University, Swedish Agricultural Board and IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.

The network is open and new engaged members are welcome to join! 

Food Losses and Waste in the Context of Sustainable Food Systems: the HLPE report on the way forward to reduce global food losses and waste