Responding to the Growing Waste Challenge
Solid waste management performs a vital function in safeguarding human health and the environment. At a more fundamental level, waste generation is the opposite of resource efficiency, and globally waste generation contributes to a whole range of environmental issues, including resource use and scarcity, energy and water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and ecological impact.
It is also estimated that 30-50% of food produced is wasted. This represents an enormous inefficiency for our industry, and for the planet. Addressing food waste could lead to improved food security for both people and countries, reduced demands on the planet, and lower costs for companies in the food value chain as well as for their respective customers.
As an industry, we must develop a response to this growing waste challenge, not just in food waste, but also in the solid waste sector.
A Vision for the Future
At the December 2014 Board meeting, our Board approved a vision for waste that embraces the concept of a circular economy and will work to eliminate the concept of waste from their products and services, throughout their lifecycles, including supply chains, manufacturing operations, distribution, use and post-use recovery. Our members will prevent the production of waste and then maximise the social and economic value of any waste still produced via materials and energy recovery.
Our work in this area will include the creation of an inventory of work already underway in individual companies, industry associations and via government initiatives and the monitoring of the work of organisations such as GMA/FMI for possible future implementation and global application.
As part of the industry's committment to reducing food waste, in 2015 the CGF Board approved a resolution
to halve food waste within the operations of its 400 retailer and manufacturers members by 2025 and to support wider UN Goals on the issue. In June 2016 the first-ever global standard to measure food loss and waste was introducted through an international partnership. The Food Loss and Waste Protocol
is a multi-stakeholder partnership convened by World Resources Institute and initiated at the 3GF 2013 Summit.