The United Nations has 17 Sustainable Development Goals. While these Goals are big, hairy, and ambitious (eg Zero Hunger), they are all broken down into more quantifiable Targets. My work is clearly tied to target 12.3: “By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses”.
12.3 is actually one of the more trendy Targets right now. By this, I don’t mean that it’s the most important/ likely to have the most resources thrown at it/ likely to save the world, but the issue of food loss and waste seems to me to be getting a lot more attention of late. This is much more at the retail and consumption end. So even if I’m contributing to the trendy Target, I’m probably at the boring end of it. But, whatever, I’m actually very proud to be able to draw this direct link between my work and the SDGs.
CHAMPIONS 12.3: The trendiness of this Target means that it has managed to develop its own momentum through the Champions 12.3 campaign. The ‘Champions‘ are a group of CEOs and Ministers and the like who through this initiative are squarely focused on reducing food waste. Given they have some serious clout behind them, expectations are high. It’s hard to say who of the Champions would work directly with on-farm food waste. I’d say the Agricultural Ministers and Agricultural NGO people would, and I’m sure the likes of Nestle and Kelloggs are concerned about pre-processing losses. Tristram Stuart has a direct link through the Gleaning Networks his Feedback organisation run.
UNOFFICIAL CHAMPIONS: There are lots of other people championing the 12.3 cause, who I’d also assign the more colloquial meaning of champion to. This includes:
- KinoSol: a group providing solar powered food dehydrators. Among other things, they do study trips.
- Karma is an app through which restaurants can sell excess food, at a cheap price, to avoid throwing it in the bin. Swedish born. Snyggt!
- Full harvest: this is one group that I’d guess will have a huge impact. Based in the US, they connect farmers with ‘ugly’ food to processors who don’t or shouldn’t care about how food looks. Food saved en mass, and value added everywhere.
- Toast Ale: beer brewed from old bread. Brilliant. They seem to have kicked off a bit of a trend too. Not available through systembolaget though…
BEING A CHAMPION AT HOME: Around the house, we’re trying to do our bit where we can. We’ve signed up for a ‘food-waste bag’ (matsvinn kassa) from food2change.se. We’re trying to implement the recommendations of the lovefoodhatewaste.vic.gov.au website, including shopping to a plan and taking note of what food we tend to throw out. The biggest outstanding challenge is better managing how the kid gets fed: the waste from her plate tends to go to my waist, so that needs better management all around.
In a more professional side-project way, I’ve applied to join the FAOs Save Food Initiative. They estimate that around 45% of roots and tubers are wasted world-wide. That’s as much as fruits. Most of that is probably potatoes, but I was pretty surprised by how large that number is. What the Australian Fight Food Waste Collaborative Research Centre produces will be interesting to see.