Target, Measure, Act: Reducing waste along the food supply chain

by Peter Hamilton

The 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) include SDG#12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns and SDG#13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact, as part of an integrated action plan to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

So how does food waste impact these goals? More than 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year, clearly indicating an imbalance between food consumption and food production. While most of this food waste ends up in landfills, impacting climate change.

An initiative such as Target, Measure, Act is a simple tool that can start to change this imbalance. Action by individual businesses to ‘Target, Measure and Act’ on food waste, and to help suppliers and consumers reduce their food waste, is critical to success. An increasing number of businesses are adopting such an approach, but many more need to do so, across the whole food chain.

An example of this approach is from the UK, where large business are taking benchmark measurements of the food waste volumes produced over a 12 month period. Measurements are taken using a standard template to ensure consistency between businesses (and provide benchmark data between different businesses). Each business then sets unique and realistic targets, breaking down the overall goal into annual targets, whilst the ‘act’ stage of the process sees businesses collaborate with organizations that can help implement processes to reduce their food waste.

However in most countries throughout the world, an industry wide program needs to be adopted that involves businesses, trade bodies and others from agriculture, production, manufacturing, retail, hospitality and food service, with the aim to work collaboratively together to tackle the issue of the imbalance between sustainable food production and food consumption.

This is a tall order and one that should be pursued with energy and commitment in making a difference to the world we live in. We at Biovert Protein congratulate companies and interested parties in advance who are pursuing this noble goal.

Although the amount of annual food waste is large, we at Biovert Protein have decided to approach this opportunity differently by using a waste to resource (WTR) business model. We use the commonly found black soldier fly insect to upcycle organic waste into circular products sold to enterprise customers using non-renewable biomaterials in the production of their products.

I’ll talk about how our business model is a resilient blueprint for manufacturing circular products at scale, in more detail in the next blog..!

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