Australian industry signs up for a $36b food waste fight

Media Release

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Some of Australia’s biggest food industry participants have joined a revolutionary new collaboration tackling Australia’s $36.6 billion food waste challenge.

The Australian Food Pact is a voluntary agreement featuring major companies such as Simplot Australia, Woolworths Group and Coles as founding signatories. It was launched at a virtual event today by Federal Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Sussan Ley MP.

Led by Stop Food Waste Australia (SFWA), the Australian Food Pact represents one of the biggest, most tangible demonstrations so far in helping the Australian Government reach its target of halving food waste by 2030, according to SFWA CEO Dr Steven Lapidge.

“Food waste is a local, national and global challenge,” Dr Lapidge says. “Australians waste 7.6 million tonnes of food each year, equivalent to more than 300kg of wasted food per person per year.

“The Australian Food Pact represents a major step forward in our bid to reduce food waste, and I commend all the signatories for their commitment to take action.”

SFWA Chief Operating Officer Mark Barthel says similar voluntary agreements overseas, such as the UK’s Courtauld Commitment, have successfully reduced food waste at scale.

“Overseas experience shows that voluntary agreements work, and based on the heartening response from our food industry to the Australian Food Pact, it will work here as well,” Mr Barthel says.

“By joining the Australian Food Pact, signatories will be able to improve profitability, respond to supply risks and opportunities, provide innovative solutions, be more competitive, and create quality products with lower environmental impacts.”

Simplot Australia is the first organisation to sign up to the Australian Food Pact. Its Managing Director, Graham Dugdale, says Simplot Australia strongly aligns and identifies with the Australian Food Pact’s goal and mission.

“We were inspired to be the first signatory, because it will give organisations like ours the opportunity to reduce food waste while collaborating with industry experts and like-minded organisations to improve Australian agricultural and food manufacturing productivity and practices,” Mr Dugdale says.

Dr Richard Swannell, International Director of UK environmental charity the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), says WRAP is delighted to be a founding partner in the Australian Food Pact.

“This is a crucial step in the fight against climate change,” Dr Swannell says. “Food loss and waste is responsible for 8 to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and if it was a country would be the third largest emitter in the world. What Australia has started today will not only benefit its citizens and businesses, but the environment as a whole. I am delighted that WRAP was able to work with partners in Australia to develop this exciting initiative and we look forward to helping deliver its ambitious goals.”

The founding signatories for the Australian Food Pact are: Simplot Australia, Woolworths Group, Coles, Mars Australia, Mondelēz Australia, Goodman Fielder, ARECO Pacific and McCain Foods, with other household names indicating they will follow in the coming months.

For more on the Australian Food Pact: https://www.stopfoodwaste.com.au/australian-food-pact/

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