Australia’s road to reducing food waste
In November 2017 the Australian Government Department of Environment and Energy launched the National Food Waste Strategy that committed Australia to Sustainable Development Goal 12, Target 3: By 2030, halve per capita food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along the production and supply chains, including post- harvest losses. The National Food Waste Strategy included a commitment to creating an independent governance body to develop an implementation plan, establish a voluntary commitment, and establish a National Food Waste Baseline.
The National Food Waste Strategy provided an initial funding commitment of $1.37 million over 2 years (2018/2019), with $1 million in funding directed to FIAL to develop the National Food Waste Strategy implementation plan or ‘roadmap’ and monitoring and evaluation framework, as well as a voluntary commitment program with industry.
In March 2019 the Hon Melissa Price, the (then) Australian Government Minister for the Environment, launched the National Food Waste Baseline from the Fight Food Waste CRC Adelaide headquarters. The report detailed that 11.3 million tonnes (MT) of food in Australia in 2016/2017 did not meet its intended destination, with near 4 MT diverted to food rescue and animal feed. Of the remaining 7.3 MT of waste, 31% was generated in primary production, 24% in food manufacturing and 34% by households, as depicted in the following graph. The result of this study is that the Australian Government benchmark for per capita food waste is 298 kg per person, which will need to be reduced to 149 kg per person by 2030 to achieve SDG 12.3.
FIAL worked across the food supply chain to develop A roadmap to reduce Australia’s food waste by half by 2030 which was launched in 2019. This work was pivotal in the creation of Stop Food Waste Australia, with FIAL contributing existing resources to the start-up implementation team to ensure it has ‘hit the ground running’.
Within the roadmap produced by FIAL, there are recommendations to establish a voluntary commitment program for business, which is exactly what Stop Food Waste Australia has been funded to achieve, as part of the following six key activities:
1.Implement a voluntary commitment program
2.Develop new, and implement existing, sector action plans
3.Stimulate active stakeholder engagement
4.Partner with current food waste initiatives
5.Establish a communication “home” for food waste activities
6.Evaluate, monitor and report on progress.
This road to reducing Australia’s food waste by half by 2030 is not actually very long, it is certainly complex and windy at times. But there is a movement amongst the industry players and their advocates who understand this is an opportunity, and all levels of governments want to support this change. Our research partners are ready and food rescue partners want to get more premium Australian food into the stomachs of those who need it.