Major players from the retail and hospitality sectors, along with social media influencers and chefs, are joining forces today to pledge action to drive down food waste.
Environment secretary Michael Gove and minister Thérèse Coffey were among the first to sign up to the pledge – which includes a goal to halve food waste by 2030. Today they will be joined by players in the world of food including Nestlé, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Waitrose to help halve food waste by 2030.
This comes as ‘Food Surplus and Waste Champion’ Ben Elliot today hosts a major symposium ‘Step up to the Plate’ at London’s prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum.
Attendees are expected to sign up to a number of commitments on measuring and reducing their own food waste and inspiring others to follow their lead.
Speaking at the event Environment Secretary Michael Gove is expected to say: “Every year, millions of tonnes of good, nutritious food is thrown away.
“This is an environmental, economic and moral scandal, and I am determined to tackle it.
“I urge businesses to join me in signing the pledge to deliver real change to stop good food going to waste.”
Food Surplus and Waste Champion Ben Elliot is expected to say: “Climate change is no longer a buzzword – we must all stand up and be counted. We squander 10 million tonnes of food and drink every year.
“Businesses throw away food worth an estimated £5 billion and £15 billion is wasted from our homes (on average around £500 a year), the emissions this creates is the equivalent of every third car on the road. We simply must put an end to this.”
The pledge asks attendees to reduce food waste by:
· setting an ambitious target to halve food waste by 2030 in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3.
· adopting the WRAP and IGD Food Waste Reduction Roadmap to have half of all 250 of the UK’s largest food businesses measuring, reporting and acting on food waste by 2019.
· embracing a Food Conversation week of action in November 2019 to highlight the changes that can be made.
· using their voice and profile to empower and encourage citizens, including the younger generation.
· changing their habits as an individual to be a Food Value Champion at work and at home, buying only what they need and eating what they buy.
Defra has noted that if insufficient progress is made on tackling food waste, it will consult on legal powers to introduce mandatory targets for food waste prevention.
The food waste symposium runs alongside the V&A’s FOOD: Bigger than the Plate exhibition, which will explore similar themes when it opens to the public on Saturday 18 May.
The event ceremony today is the latest in a series of government publicities around food waste. Last week, Defra announced it had awarded more than £4 million to four redistribution organisations across England (see letsrecycle.com story).