Circular Week 2021. From a food supply chain to a circular food system: the contribution of Banco Alimentare

On 12 October 2021, Marco Lucchini, co-founder and Secretary General of Fondazione Banco Alimentare Onlus (FBAO, Italy), made an intervention during the Circular Week 2021, an international campaign entailing events and initiatives devoted to the topics of sustainable development and circular economy. The Circular Week 2021 strives to promote business models in conformity with the notion of social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

As part of a webinar titled “Bioeconomy for innovative packages and circular food chains”, Marco Lucchini elaborated on the contribution of FBAO to the transformation from a linear food supply chain towards a circular food system. After starting off with a recap of the history of Food Banks, he specified the impact of FBAO in 2020 in terms of the type and quantity of food recovered from producers, retailers, and the HORECA sector, around 101,000 tonnes, which were redistributed to over 1.6 million people in need via 7,557 charitable organisations.

This activity is in line with the idea of circularity, displayed in the organisation’s logo: saving perfectly edible, nutritious food that is refused by the market due to overproduction, cosmetic blemishes, misshape etc. from going to landfills and instead preserving its value by redistributing it to the most deprived through a network of charitable organisations in the form of ready-made meals and food parcels. Following this approach corresponds to the so-called Gift Law, which considers donations as the natural solution to the waste of surplus food. A win-win situation is developed through the parallel elimination of negative externalities, e.g. greenhouse gas emissions, and the creation of a socio-economic contribution.

Thereby, FBAO supports the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), in particular Zero Hunger (SDG 2) and Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12).