On 21 February, the Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity, and Sustainable Development of the European Parliament and the European Parliamentary Alliance on the Fight against Hunger organised a conference with the title “Do Good: Save Food! Educating future generations for a zero food waste world”. The roundtable raised awareness on the importance and the transformative potential of education of children in the area of food waste prevention and reduction. The event discussed policies, focused on the younger people and their actions against food waste and presented the FAO "Do good: Save food!" educational package on food waste.
According to FAO, nearly 1.3 billion tons of food produced are wasted or lost. Food waste has a high social, economic and environmental cost, but also ethical consequences as 821 million people are undernourished. At the EU level, food waste prevention has been identified as a priority area in the Circular Economy Action Plan. To support the efforts from the Member States, the Commission will soon adopt a new methodology to measure food waste consistently at each phase of the food supply chain and published EU Guidelines on food donation. The event discussed policies and focused on young people and their actions against food waste, the role of education in this regard, and presented the FAO educational package on food waste, asking the participants to take action.
MEP Biljana Borzan reminded that measures need to be taken to reduce and eliminate the socio-economic and environmental impacts. The production of EU food waste leads to the emission of 170 million tons of CO2 and consumes 261 million tons of resources. Member States should encourage food courses at every level of education. She also addressed the EU Directive on Waste adopted in 2018, within which Member States are called to work towards achieving the SDG 12.3 objective to halve food waste by 2030.
MEP Angelique Delahaye said that the fight against food waste is essential for the future of our planet. The new proposal for a EU Common Agricultural Policy has managed to put this fight high on the European Parliament’s agenda. She added that legislation alone is not enough and she described the activity of a charity that organizes donations directly from the farmers to food aid associations, giving fresh products to the most deprived people.
Rodrigo de Lapuerta, Director of the FAO liaison office with the European Union and Belgium, mentioned that food is wasted in many ways and in many places, particularly in developed countries. He also highlighted that food waste has social, economic and environmental costs and he pointed out the key role that children and young people can play as consumers, citizens and decision-makers of the future.
Rosa Rolle, FAO Senior Enterprise Development Officer, said that the world currently has the capacity to produce enough food to feed every person on earth. With an increasing urbanization and the climate change, our world today is facing a critical challenge to ensure that 10 billion people living on this planet in 2050 will have access to nutritious food. Later, she also targeted to primary and secondary schools and developed collaboratively by FAO and the International Food Waste Coalition.
Anne-Laure Gassin, from DG SANTE, explained that fighting food waste can have positive impact not only on SDG 12.3 but also on other Sustainable Development Goals, for example climate action. Over 50% of EU food waste is generated at household level, everyone is the force concerned about it and therefore the role of education is an important key to change behaviour and adopt new habits.
The discussion continued with a roundtable presenting different approaches and actions: Philippe Micheaux-Naudet from ACR+, Todor Ivanov from Eurocoop, Thomas Candeal from International Food Waste Coalition, Lorenzo Ferrucci from FoodDrinkEurope, and Hélène Delabye from Carrefour Belgium.
Please click here to access all event documents; namely list of participants, presentations, event agenda and report.