Food waste is a global problem, and reducing waste will require cooperation from food producers and consumers around the world. The good news is that more minds than ever are focused on addressing this challenge. That means organizations have a vast range of resources available to serve as a basis for developing their own food waste prevention and reduction programs.
These templates, toolkits, and programs to reduce food waste range from government-provided plans to nonprofit support to private sector resources. These resources also include organizations that have already proven effective in reducing food waste and can serve as a template for other groups committed to driving their own progress.
Below are just some of the programs providing structured guidance and encouragement to help organizations like yours achieve their food waste reduction goals.
Government-led food waste reduction programs
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12 (SDG) serves as a benchmark for much of the world in terms of just how far we have to go to ensure sustainable food consumption and production patterns.
The UN’s target 12.3 focuses on reducing food waste by 50% at the retail and consumption stage and food loss at the production stage by 2030. To help drive action toward this goal, the UN offers a number of resources.
Its toolkit, Reducing the Food Wastage Footprint, showcases best practices for food loss and waste reduction and highlights sources for additional information. The Get Involved Guide supports this guide with key messages, facts and figures, and specific actions that stakeholders must take to reduce food loss and waste.
Within the UN’s AWorld mobile app, stakeholders can choose specific actions they can take to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and track their progress against key metrics. Users can also find educational resources, group challenges, tips, and quizzes geared towards engaging individuals in living more sustainably.
In the United States, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have led food waste education and reduction efforts for nearly a decade. The joint Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions program works to both encourage private sector commitments to food waste reduction and celebrate progress.
Since 2016, more than 45 corporations have been named Champions for their commitments to reducing food loss and waste in their operations. These organizations run the gamut, including food processors, grocery stores, restaurants, and hospitality companies. Organizations periodically report progress on their websites, providing a template for other private sector companies preparing to make this commitment.
In addition, a number of municipalities offer toolkits and local pledges designed to connect businesses and individuals with food waste resources in their communities.
Nonprofits leading progress to zero food waste
A number of nonprofits are working to reduce food loss and waste, but few are perhaps as recognizable as ReFED. This national nonprofit is dedicated to ending food loss and waste through the advancement of data-driven solutions. It has set a goal of reducing food waste by 50% in line with the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals by gathering the missing data on exactly how much food is wasted and where supply chain changes can make the biggest impact.
ReFED offers a number of resources to help stakeholders identify where their organization can make changes that will help reduce food waste. These resources include the Insights Engine, an online data center, that provides a cost-benefit analysis of more than 40 solutions proven to drive a measurable impact. The solutions center can help any stakeholder make data-fueled decisions about where to target their food waste reduction efforts.
Another organization driving progress is the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA), an industry-led initiative made up of the Consumer Brands Association, FMI – The Food Industry Association, and the National Restaurant Association. The Alliance aims to reduce food waste by increasing food donations and encouraging members to divert unavoidable food waste from landfills.
FWRA provides a wealth of resources to help organizations address the root causes of food waste within their operations. It also connects organizations with opportunities to donate or recycle unavoidable food waste. Among its many resources is the Fighting Food Waste guide, which offers insight based on “lessons learned” from a range of companies in the food manufacturing and service sector.
For full-service hotels, and other food service institutions, Hotel | Kitchen is a toolkit launched by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, to help the hospitality industry reduce food waste. The toolkit delivers strategies and resources proven to engage staff, partners, and guests in cutting kitchen waste. Hotels participating in early trials found strategies outlined in the toolkit reduced their waste by between 10% to 38% in 12 weeks.
Making a public pledge to do better can help gather momentum around a goal. But when this pledge comes with a third-party audit and certification, it can also be good for business by helping consumers cut through the noise to see which organizations are truly committed to food waste reduction.
The PLEDGE™ on Food Waste provides this third-party audited certification and a benchmarking system designed to help restaurants, hospitality organizations, educational institutions, and other groups divert all food waste from the landfill. The pledge sets seven pillars for organizations to address in order to achieve certification. This structured guidance uses a food waste monitoring methodology designed to align with the UN’s Draft Food Loss and Waste Standard.
Private sector partners play an essential role, too
As every food-producing organization knows, progress is impossible without private sector support. This includes companies like Power Knot that are delivering environmentally friendly solutions to help food producers better understand and manage their food waste.
We believe that our LFC biodigester offers unique advantages over other tactics to divert food waste from a landfill. However, we also recognize that this type of solution should only be a last resort used for unavoidable food waste.
That’s why Power Knot provides a wealth of resources to help food producing organizations of all types understand their environmental impact and their sustainability options. Our Center of Sustainability features articles that offer insight into best practices for corporate sustainability and advice for lowering organizational carbon offset.
This is also why we designed the LFC Cloud, as this data center gives biodigester operators access to data on their food waste, including trends over time. With this insight, organizations can reduce food waste by making more informed purchasing decisions.
By leveraging the full wealth of resources and solutions available, we can achieve true progress in food waste reduction and create a more sustainable future.