The annual progress report for the UK’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, published today (24 September) by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and food research charity IGD, shows growing adoption of the Target-Measure-Act approach to food waste prevention.
70 new organisations have committed to the Roadmap in the past 12 months, with the latest members including Burger King UK, McDonald’s UK and Pret A Manger.
Producers and manufacturers with comparable historical data have shown a reduction in food waste of around 160,000 tonnes, saving food worth £240 million.
The Food Waste Reduction Roadmap is aiming to halve food waste throughout the supply chain by 2030 in line with the 12.3 Sustainable Development Goal.
Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have become the first retailers to begin new Whole Chain Projects. This programme is the next major stage in the roadmap and involves businesses working together across the supply chain, from farm-factory-warehouse-store to identify ways to reduce food waste at each.
The UK’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap and its strategy of Target-Measure-Act is one of the initiatives that prompted the Champions 12.3 coalition to name the UK an “exemplar” country in its global progress report on Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 (SDG 12.3), published later today in New York.
In its report, the influential Champions 12.3 coalition will warn that global food waste efforts remain ‘woefully behind’ where they should be to halve food loss and waste by 2030.
The group points to the work done in the UK and the Netherlands as examples of what can be achieved through a Target-Measure-Act approach.
Food waste in the UK has been gradually declining, with WRAP releasing a progress report from the Courtauld Commitment at the beginning of 2020 that said it had fallen by seven per cent per person in three years.
The Food Waste Reduction Roadmap is the only nationwide programme operating from field to fork anywhere in the world. Last year’s report saw 121 food businesses make a commitment to the roadmap.
Since its launch in 2018 the number of participating organisations has more than doubled to around 260, with food businesses numbering over 210. Earlier this year saw the Roadmap expand to include farm waste, providing growers with advice on food surplus.
This year more small and medium-sized enterprises have joined, with Joseph Robertson, Stockan’s Oatcakes and Bute Island Foods submitting data, and growing ranks of supporters include businesses such as Veolia, Suez and Biffa.
Marcus Gover, WRAP CEO and Champion 12.3, said, “We must prevent a further 1.8 million tonnes of food from going to waste by 2030. Most from our homes, but more than half a million tonnes through the further actions of retail, manufacturing and hospitality and food service businesses.
“We need around 400 more food businesses to commit to the Roadmap and Target-Measure-Act. It’s also important that more businesses publish their data and insights, to help accelerate the collective effort. The rest of the world is looking to the UK to continue to lead the way, and the stakes are too high in terms of the environmental, economic and social costs of food waste for us to fail.”
Implementing Target-Measure-Act has helped food businesses respond to Covid-19 by bringing greater transparency on the levels of surplus and food waste arising, and ensuring that as much quality surplus food as possible can be redistributed, not wasted.
The focus needs to remain on food waste as the country comes out of lockdown, with another report from WRAP warning that self-reported food waste increased by 30 per cent in July.
The report from WRAP and IGD comes ahead of the government’s expected consultation on mandatory public reporting of food waste by businesses – set to resume later this year. WRAP is working closely with policy makers to ensure new regulations are aligned and informed by the Roadmap and its resources.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Reducing food waste is a hugely important part of making both our food industry and wider society more sustainable, and it lies at the heart of this government’s goal to recycle, reduce and reuse more of our resources.
“The Food Waste Reduction Roadmap is an integral part of this effort, and I commend WRAP, IGD and the Roadmap’s signatories for such sterling efforts during what has been a very challenging year. Many food businesses are also demonstrating how innovative and effective they can be to tackle this serious issue.
“With this progress report we can look forward to next year when we will go even further and faster to reduce food waste across the country, from farm to fork.”
You can view Food Waste Reduction Roadmap progress report 2020 on the WRAP website.