According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), around one-third of all food produced globally is lost (in the production phase) or wasted (in the retail and consumption phase). A report issued in 2018 by Boston Consulting Group alarmingly noted that the annual rate of food loss/waste is set to rise by a third by the year 2030, when 2.1 billion tonnes will either be lost or thrown away. This corresponds to at least 66 tonnes of edible food, wasted per second.
So, who is exactly responsible for this waste? The entire supply chain; from poor environmental and climate conditions to improper food storage and bad eating habits. Food that is discarded at any stage of the supply chain directly causes the wastage of the energy and water resources that would have been used up in its production, harvesting and delivery to the market. Naturally, the impact that this practice leaves on the global economy, society and environment is devastating.
According to an article published by TIME Magazine in November 2019, the economical impact resulting from food waste is staggering:
“The financial hit to our economies, of this lost or wasted food, runs nearly $1 trillion dollars. To put this financial loss in perspective: If we wanted to deliver clean water and sanitation to the world for a year, it’d cost only $150 billion”.
Preventing food waste – even at least a percentage of the current rates – could therefore bring about ‘new’ capital to support initiatives seeking to lessen poverty across the globe. This links the economic impact to the social impact of food waste. As already proven by the FAO, the food wasted in wealthy states nearly amounts to the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, better management of the food supply chain could literally feed the world.
Moreover – from an environmental standpoint – it is worth stating that the practice of food waste has an overwhelming carbon footprint, contributing to an estimated 8 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. To put this into perspective, the ‘food waste industry’ emits as much greenhouse gases as the clothing industry and more than three times the amount emitted by the airline industry.
To help tackle the food waste challenge, the Malta Business Bureau (MBB) and the Malta CSR Institute, which is backed by the HSBC Malta Foundation, kicked off a series of half-day food waste reduction training and awareness sessions in late 2019. Designed specifically for enterprises and their employees, the sessions held last year successfully trained more than 150 people over a span of approximately two months.
In a typical session, participants are primarily introduced to the food waste challenge from a broad perspective – understanding how the issue of food waste impacts upon different areas, including our environment, the economy and the social sphere. Professionals working in the food waste area then provide participants with practical tips and techniques on how to effectively cut down on food waste. The topics covered include sustainable food habits, sustainable seafood consumption, proper separation of organic waste and growing food from food scraps.
The next series of food waste seminars will be taking place between the 6th of February and the 7th of May 2020. Individuals or businesses who are interested in participating in one or more of these seminars, are advised to contact Glenn Bugeja, HSBC Manager for Corporate Sustainability, on email@example.com
Further information on the Business Against Food Waste Campaign, is also available by contacting MBB Project Manager Gabriel Cassar on firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking on www.mbb.org.mt/business-against-food-waste/ for future updates.
The Business Against Food Waste campaign is led by the Malta Business Bureau, in collaboration with the Institute of Tourism Studies and the HSBC Malta CSR Institute. The campaign is supported by Wasteserv Malta, the Malta Tourism Authority and the Ministry for Tourism.