Consumer Goods Forum pledges to half food waste by 2025

The Consumer Goods Forum, an influential global network of more than 400 retailers, has made a strong statement concerning the environment and food waste.



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25 June 2015

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It is a regular occurence these days to see retailers and other businesses pledge to make a meaningful contribution to a sustainable environment. Perhaps the largest statement of intent to this end has been made this week by the Consumer Goods Forum, a global network of around 400 manufacturers, retailers and other areas.

At a meeting in New York, the organisation made a pledge to cut their food waste by half over the next ten years. Public concern is growing regarding the environmental and economic costs of inefficiency that leads to billions of tons of food being discarded around the world every year. Increasing government regulation on the issue is likely, and the CGF’s pledge comes as an attempt to pre-empt such regulations.

Based in Paris, the Consumer Goods Forum represents retailers from 70 countries with combined sales of approximately €2.5 trillion, so the effect of this pledge on such a large scale, once implemented, is sure to have enormous impact on the long term environment as well as the reputation of “big business” on the issue. reports that the CGF’s first task would be to create a baseline for 2016, before creating monitoring and reporting mechanisms for the public and its members, in order to cut food lost during production and shipment, and maximise the use of remaining waste.

As well as the moral implication of discarding billions of tons of food every year, the CGF pointed out the pollution levels that exist as an offshoot to this. Food waste around the world is responsible for releasing 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases in to the atmosphere everyyear, it said. This means that if food waste was a country, its emissions would be one of the highest in the world, behind only China and the United States.

EU countries have been acting in response to the growing problem of food waste. France recently passed laws banning big retailers from destroying unsold but edible food, while Germany has been pioneering online food sharing programmes.

“It is a tragedy that up to 2 billion tonnes of food produced around the world is lost or wasted never making it on to a plate,” said Paul Polman, chief executive of Unilever , whose products range from Magnum ice creams to Dove cosmetics.

“At a time of growing food insecurity and climate change, we can’t afford to let this continue,” he said.




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