During a panel discussion hosted by The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN), WRAP, and the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic experts identified key solutions that can slash food waste and help reduce hunger.
Panelists include Elijah Amoo Addo, Executive Director of Food for All Africa; Emily M. Broad Leib, Clinical Professor of Law at the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic; Dr. Sang-Mok Suh, President of the Korea National Council on Social Welfare; Richard Swannell, Director of WRAP; and Ayla Ziz, Senior Vice President of Global Sales for Danone. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gunders, Executive Director of ReFED.
“About 118 million more people faced chronic hunger in 2020 than in 2019. And about 2.37 billion people, which comes out to almost one in three people worldwide, face food insecurity,” Lisa Moon, CEO of GFN says, referring to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global food security. “This represents an increase of almost 320 million people in one year which is roughly equal to the total increase of the last five years combined.”
Broad Leib calls on the public sector to help reduce food loss and waste to address this crisis. She argues that policymakers can make it easier for institutions to donate excess food.
“Government policies play a huge role in whether food is wasted or donated,” Broad Leib says. “We found that in virtually all of the countries we researched, there were actually really active dialogues underway about how to think about and reform government policies on food donation.”
But the panelists agree that in many parts of the world, the public sector has not gone far enough. To help change this, Broad Lieb worked directly with GFN to create a tool called the Global Food Donation Policy Atlas. This resource enables users to browse food donation laws by country to make the information more accessible and help strengthen policies.
The panelists also push for better, more consistent date labeling schemes. They explain that in many parts of the world, government regulations only require food products to be labeled with a sell by date. The mandatory addition of a use by date on all food products is already helping to reduce food waste in the United Kingdom. Swannell argues that these labels should appear on products around the world.
Despite the barriers that still exist in addressing food loss and food waste, Dana Gunders remains hopeful.
“The good news is that this is a solvable problem and people around the world are interested,” Gunders says. “People instinctively know that wasting food is not a good thing.”