Tackling Food Waste

24 May 2018


Extract from Irishfood Magazine.  


Today, one-third of the food produced globally is wasted. It’s a sobering statistic, given that one billion people globally are hungry or malnourished, writes Andrew Mullins, sustainability development manager at Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board).


On September 25, 2015, the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were introduced. A key SDG is to ‘ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns,’ with target 12.3 calling for per capita global food waste to be cut in half at retail and consumer level, and for a reduction in food losses along the production and supply chain.


Food wastage occurs ‘upstream’ and ‘downstream’ along the food chain. Upstream – production, post-harvest handling and storage – is estimated to account for approximately 54% of waste, while downstream – processing, distribution and consumption – accounts for the rest. Together, they have a significant impact on global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the use of natural resources. If food waste was a country, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN believes it would be the third largest GHG emitter; occupying the equivalent of 30 percent of the world’s farmland and wasting or losing as much water annually as three times the volume of Lake Geneva.


Origin Green is the only food sustainability programme in the world operating on a national scale, uniting Government, the private sector and food producers.  550 companies currently participate in the Origin Green sustainability programme. 280 of these are fully verified members, denoting that their sustainability plans have been independently assessed and verified by the SGS Group, a world-leading auditing, conformance and inspection body. Tackling food waste has been a core pillar of Origin Green from the outset. The programme is designed to ensure agri-food producers give high priority to food-waste prevention throughout the food chain via dedicated sustainability targets. The programme has evolved to cover the retail and foodservice sector, with members in this area setting long-term, multi-annual sustainability plans to drive continuous improvement. Food waste is a mandatory target for all members, ensuring change can be driven throughout the supply chain.


Read the full article, ‘Tackling food waste’ to learn more about how significant gains can be made through collaborative efforts in Irishfood Magazine Issue 1 (page 36).