Consumer goods industry to reduce waste by 50%
The Consumer Goods Forum promises major reduction of food waste by 2025 by its retail and manufacturing members.
PARIS and NEW YORK—on June 24, 2015, the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) announced its commitment to tackling the global food waste challenge by agreeing to halve food waste within the operations of its 400 retailer and manufacturers members by 2025.
Food waste is an enormous environmental, social and economic challenge. A third of food calories produced are never eaten. It represents an economic cost to the global economy of $750 billion per year and, if food waste were a country, its carbon footprint would be third only to China and the U.S.
The Consumer Goods Forum is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry worldwide. It brings together the chief executive officers and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Its member companies have combined sales of EUR 2.5 trillion and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which comprises 50 manufacturer and retailer chief executive oficers.
The CGF’s Board of Directors has approved a new resolution to halve food waste within the operations of its 400 retailer and manufacturers members by 2025 and to support wider U.N. goals on the issue.
This Food Waste Resolution is the third resolution of the CGF’s Sustainability Pillar. It complements Board-approved resolutions made in 2010 on achieving zero net deforestation by 2020 and beginning the phase-out hydro fluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants by 2015.
The CGF recognizes that unchecked climate change will have a huge impact on the consumer goods sector, its customers and employees. With the COP21 Climate Summit occurring in Paris later this year, this new Food Waste Resolution, together with the CGF’s work on deforestation and low carbon refrigeration, demonstrates the industry’s commitment to play a leading role in limiting global temperature rises to 2°C.
Central to the Food Waste Resolution is the aim to set a clear benchmark for food waste arisings today and set measurable goals to reduce food waste in the future. The Resolution specifically commits to aligning the industry around the Food Loss & Waste Protocol being developed by the World Resources Institute.
Halving Food Waste by 2025
Supporting U.N. goals, the Food Waste Resolution focuses on two key areas:
- Preventing food waste, then maximizing its recovery towards the goal of halving food waste within the retail and manufacturing operations of CGF members by 2025, versus a 2016 baseline.
- Contributing to the U.N. goals by 2030 to:
• Halve per capita global food waste at the consumer level; and
• Reduce food losses along production and supply chains including post-harvest losses and maximize the value of the remaining waste.
The full Food Waste Resolution is available via the CGF website (see below).
Nestlé S.A. chief executive officer Paul Bulcke says: “The Resolution on Food Waste the CGF Board of Directors has adopted demonstrates our willingness to engage and take action in an area where a collective industry effort can make a difference. We will leverage the best practices we have developed for the implementation of the existing resolutions on deforestation and refrigeration to engage the CGF’s wider membership in the global effort on food waste. With this third resolution, we believe that the CGF is taking additional important steps in contributing to the international action on preserving natural resources, especially water, and to limiting the global temperature rise to 2°C.”
3.3 billion tonnes of GHG
The need for food waste reduction shows that 30% of food produced is wasted each year – food waste that is responsible for adding 3.3 billion tonnes of GHG .
The CGF believes that the industry has a responsibility to show strong leadership on food waste reduction – a belief supported by its Board of Directors. The reason being:
• In a world of rising population, increasing cost of food, concerns about inequality and growing food insecurity, food waste is one of the greatest challenges of our time with 30% (1.3 billion tonnes) of food produced being wasted each year.
• Food waste is also responsible for adding 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases into the planet’s atmosphere per year. If food waste was a country it would be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases globally after China and the US.
• The water footprint of food waste is equivalent to three times the volume of Lake Geneva.
• The value of food wasted each year is $750 billion.
Paul Polman, chief executive officer of Unilever and Board Co-Sponsor of the CGF’s sustainability work says, “The CGF commitment to reduce food waste strikes at the heart of the global climate and development challenge. It is a tragedy that up to two billion tonnes of food produced around the world is lost or wasted never making it onto a plate. At a time of growing food insecurity and climate change, we can’t afford to let this continue. This resolution marks a step change in industry leadership and is an important contribution to the longer term sustainable development agenda.”
Marc Bolland, chief executive officer of Marks and Spencer and fellow Board Co-Sponsor of the CGF’s sustainability work adds, “Tackling food waste makes sense for the consumer goods sector. It saves money, improves food security, conserves water and reduces greenhouse gas emissions – it’s an all-round win. We’re committed to helping our members significantly reduce food waste and to sharing our learnings and expertise with the wider food industry.”
Driving Implementation and Positive Change Globally
In order to help CGF members implement the new resolution, an implementation plan has been developed. The plan includes key steps that will help develop a baseline, monitoring and public reporting mechanisms, communication and engagement plans and implementation toolkit.
These will all be supported by food waste-specific events and webinars that will be open to both CGF and non-CGF members. More details on these to follow.
For more information on the Consumer Goods Forum, visit: www.theconsumergoodsforum.com.