WRAP and UN unveil global food waste tool

Guidance published last week outlining ways to tackle the estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food wasted globally each year has been hailed as a landmark document by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

The first version of the Think.Eat.Save tool is a collaboration between WRAP, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, as part of the SAVE FOOD initiative and FAO-UNEP Sustainable Food Systems Programme.

The guidance will help to curb some of the 1.3 billion tonnes of food wasted globally each year
The guidance will help to curb some of the 1.3 billion tonnes of food wasted globally each year

Released on Friday (May 23), the document provides guidance to governments, local authorities, businesses and others on designing food waste prevention programmes. It also draws on case studies from around the world including the UK.

Both UNEP and FAO are targeting pilot countries and cities without existing food waste prevention frameworks to test the guidance in anticipation of an upcoming Committee on World Food Security report, which supports concerted and collective action.

As each country maybe at different stages of curbing food waste, the guidance can be used flexibly with four different modules including mapping and measuring, options for developing national or regional policies, household food waste reduction, and preventing food waste in the supply chain.

Within each module, the structure is presented through step by step sections, covering purpose, potential users and outcomes, guidance, and summary.

The authors of the document have also called for feedback from government departments and businesses on how they use the guidance, ensuring the current version can be updated and help develop the World Resources Institute-led Food Loss and Waste Protocol.


Commenting on the launch of the guidance, WRAP chief executive Dr Liz Goodwin said that all efforts to reduce food waste should be welcomed as the demand for food is projected to increase by 60-70% by 2050 stretching resources such as available land and fertilisers.

She said: It amazes me, when you consider the economic benefits, the wellbeing of people and the planet, that these opportunities are not being actioned. We dont need to and cannot afford to go on like this – exhausting precious resources, putting pressure on the land and wasting money.

So whether its San Francisco or Sydney, Sepang or Stockhom, this guidance can help make a difference, whatever the location. And for any government, local authority or business looking to go further, I appreciate there will be barriers, considerations, and reasons why you have not gone as far as you can.


Helena Semedo, FAO deputy director general for natural resources, added: Sustainable natural resources use is a key FAO priority. Fighting food loss and waste is an area in which partnerships are needed to reach the goal of eradicating hunger. This calls for effective governance systems and involvement of many stakeholders. We face a world with high and volatile food prices, urbanization, and climate change where coordination of strategies to reduce food waste can make a real difference.

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