Corporate activists urge the government to mandate food waste reporting

28 March 2024 by Acre
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Are you concerned about the amount of food wasted in the UK every single day?

Major UK companies have signed a landmark open letter, calling for the introduction of mandatory public food waste reporting.

Signatories of the letter, addressed to Steve Barclay - Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, include Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Danone, Aldi and Innocent Drinks. They have collaborated to drive meaningful change and encourage more action across the industry via data-driven strategies and efficiencies.

The letter was published by anti-food waste organisation Too Good To Go, in partnership with the British Retail Consortium (BRC), and the letter has been signed by more than 30 leading companies from the UK's food, retail, and manufacturing sectors, all advocating for mandatory public food waste reporting and economic growth development.

Too Good To Go is a certified B Corp social impact company that connects users with partners to rescue unsold food from going to waste. The joint letter aligns with last week’s Love Food Hate Waste’s annual food waste reduction campaign Food Waste Action Week organised by WRAP (Waste Resource Action Programme) which ran from March 18-24.

How much food is wasted in the UK?

With more than a third of all food produced currently going to waste, the food sector has recognised the urgency of tackling food waste. It contributes 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and pre- and post-farm gate food waste costs £21.8bn annually to the UK economy.

Jamie Crummie, co-founder of Too Good To Go, said: “We're delighted to see the strong level of industry support for the introduction of mandatory food waste reporting.

“The stark reality is that a staggering 40 per cent of all food produced globally goes to waste. In 2024 there is no room for half-hearted measures or commitments a decade away. The Government has an opportunity to lead the way in the fight against food waste by introducing mandatory food waste reporting and we hope it will seize this chance.”

Andrew Opie, Director of Food & Sustainability at the BRC, said: “Mandatory food waste reporting is a key step in reducing food waste, helping retailers to understand their waste hotspots and where surplus food can be redistributed.

“While most retailers already report voluntarily through WRAP's Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, mandatory reporting will enable greater transparency across the supply chain. Retailers will continue to engage with the Government to ensure that the system works for all stakeholders, and that it aligns across the four UK nations.”

Hannah Cornick, Head of Sustainability & Social Innovation at Danone UK & Ireland, said: “At Danone, we think reporting on food waste is extremely valuable – because what gets measured, gets managed.

“In the UK we already report our figures to WRAP on an annual basis, tracking our progress towards 50 per cent reduction in food waste by 2030. Mandatory reporting would help improve visibility of food waste right across the industry, highlighting it as both a business and wider sustainability issue that we should all be focused on managing.”

Too Good To Go has helped to save over 300 million meals from going to waste (the equivalent to 810,000 tonnes of CO2e avoided) since 2016.

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