Retailer Tesco is pushing for reporting of food waste by retailers and hospitality businesses to be made mandatory in order to meet United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Dave Lewis – chief executive of Tesco – is chair of the Champions 12.3 group which is working to meet SDG 12.3. This calls on all countries to halve their food waste at the retail and consumer levels, as well as reducing food loss during production and supply chains, by 2030.
Speaking at a Champions 12.3 event in New York today, coinciding with the United Nations General Assembly and Climate Week NYC, Mr Lewis will say that the target will not be met if companies are unwilling to publish their data publicly.
“A lot of food companies have pledged to tackle food waste, but without transparency will not be able to judge if they are delivering on their commitment,” he said.
“Publishing food waste data is vital and must be mandatory if the UK is to achieve SDG 12.3 to halve food waste by 2030.”
He added: “The government has indicated it will introduce mandatory reporting and we call on them to do this urgently.”
Tesco was the first UK retailer to publish food waste data in 2013 (see letsrecycle.com story) – it has today released its seventh year of results, including figures for 27 own brand suppliers and 11 branded suppliers. Since 2018 Tesco has halved the amount of food safe for human consumption that it wastes, with food waste now representing 0.1% of food sales.
Target, Measure, Act
As Tesco calls for greater transparency, WRAP has announced that it has more than doubled the number of organisations signed up to its Target, Measure, Act food waste reduction scheme to 156 companies.
Target, Measure, Act was launched a year ago and is part of the UK Food Waste Reduction Roadmap which WRAP created in partnership with the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD). It asks large businesses to set a food waste reduction target aligned with SDG 12.3, consistently measure their food waste and share the results, as well as acting with suppliers and consumers to reduce food waste.
Almost 40 businesses have now publicly reported food surplus and food waste, the majority as part of the Champions 12.3 initiative.
Marcus Gover, chief executive of WRAP and a 12.3 Champion, said he was delighted by the progress made by the UK Food Waste Reduction Roadmap.
“Businesses that are implementing Target, Measure, Act are already reaping the benefits, and those publicly reporting comparable data show an average 7% reduction, and a combined saving of around 53,000 tonnes of food valued at over £85m.”
He added: “Businesses that are implementing Target, Measure, Act are already reaping the benefits, and those publicly reporting comparable data show an average 7% reduction, and a combined saving of around 53,000 tonnes of food valued at over £85m.
“Working together with Courtauld 2025, the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap is putting the UK on a path to achieving Sustainable Development Goal Target 12.3.”
Mr Gover noted that by 2026 WRAP aimed for all major food businesses to have implemented Target, Measure, Act.