Working together to achieve SDG 12.3: a showcase of international actions to prevent food loss and waste

On May 15th, the first day of FEBA Annual Convention 2019 in Rome, the European Food Banks Federation organized an International Meeting “Working together to achieve SDG 12.3. Concrete actions preventing food waste”, hosted in the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 

The topic of the meeting was SDG 12, ensuring sustainable consumption, or specifically target 12.3, reducing global food waste at the retailer and consumer levels and food loss along production and supply chains by 50% per capita. It was a concrete opportunity to take stop of all the initiatives that have been implemented globally by aggregating the results and the impacts obtained in the different countries. The introductory section of the meeting was headlined by presentations from several high-ranking officials and researchers, including Mr. Jacques Vandenschrik, President of FEBA, Mr. Maximo Torero Cullen, Assistant Director General of FAO’s Economic and Social Department, Prof. Alessandro Perego of Politecnico di Milano, as well as Mr. Jamie Morrison, director and strategic Programme Leader at FAO. 

During his remarks Mr. Torero Cullen for example focused on the challenges of the rising demand for sustainable food resulting from the world’s growing population, which according to estimates will not only grow up to 10 billion people by 2050 but also need more than 60% more food than humanity is consuming today. He outlined how reducing food loss along the production chain and food waste on the part of the consumer are essential to successfully completing the balancing act of feeding so many more people, while simultaneously dealing with important resources like water becoming scarcer than ever before. He described the role of Food Banks in this area as invaluable, as they not only reduce food loss on the part of the producers, but also food waste by consumers. 

After the opening remarks and the two keynote speakers, the following panels concentrated on several case studies finding and identifying best practices for preventing food loss and waste. This panel consisted of officials and representatives of public authorities (FAO, DG Health and Food Safety, European Commission, Italian Ministry), of civil society organizations (Mesa Brasil, Feeding America, Maisto Bankas, Global FoodBanking Network, Banco Alimentare Trentino-Alto Adige, FoodCloud, Caritas Italiana, and Fédération Française des Banques Alimentaires) and of several companies or startups (Bella Dentro, Fontaneto, Federcongressi, and Feed From Food). On a general level the focus was also put on guidelines, frameworks and settings to achieve the biggest impact on society as a whole. This approach was exemplified by several EU-wide actions to facilitate food donation, fight food waste, better understand the problems regarding food loss and waste through dialogue with national organizations in the field and leverage learning and experience throughout the EU. Other focuses of the panel were a better coordination of the different stakeholders of the food supply chain and an improvement of the cooperation between all the players – producers, administrations and charity organizations – finding ways to encourage food donation through initiatives like tax breaks and simplifying administrative procedures in order to implement legislation in a more efficient and effective way.

The closing remarks of the meeting were held by Prof. Enrico Giovannini, the director of the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASviS), which also patronized the meeting. Throughout his remarks he once again put the topics of reducing food loss and food waste within the context of the SDGs as a whole and encouraged everyone to continuously be aware of and use these synergies to achieve even better results.

Discover more information and the full video of the International Meeting here.

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