11th National Selection Conference of the European Youth Parliament Ukraine
Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
Chairperson: Yuliia KOBA (UA)
France has set an example of endorsing the donation of surplus food to charity with banning large supermarkets discarding leftover food. What actions should the EU take in order to reduce food waste in all Member States?
Food waste is an issue of importance to global food security and good environmental governance, directly linked with environmental (e.g. energy, climate change, water, availability of resources), economic (e.g. resource efficiency, price volatility, increasing costs, consumption, waste management, commodity markets) and social (e.g. health, equality) impacts. Different studies show that between 1/3 and 1/2 of the world food production is not consumed [1] , depending on the studies' definitions for what is considered 'food waste'. In addition, different studies use different methods.

Hence, studies on food waste sometimes consider different aspects and their results are not always comparable or transparent. EU Member States define food waste as any food, and inedible parts of food, removed from the food supply chain to be recovered or disposed (including composted, crops ploughed in/not harvested, anaerobic digestion, bio-energy production, co-generation, incineration, disposal to sewer, landfill or discarded to sea)[2].

There is a pressing need to prevent and reduce food waste to make the transition to a resource-efficient Europe. The EU and its Member States are committed to meeting the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted in September 2015, including a target to halve food waste per capita at the retail and consumer level by 2030, and to reduce food losses along the food production and supply chains.

In order to achieve the SDG on food waste and to maximise the contribution of all actors, the European Commission committed to establishing a Platform dedicated to food waste prevention. The EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste (FLW) aims to support all actors in: defining measures needed to prevent
food waste; sharing best practice; and evaluating progress made over time.

The UN Secretary-General's Zero Hunger Challenge launched at Rio+20 called on governments, civil society, religious communities, the private sector, and research institutions to unite to end hunger and eliminate the worst forms of malnutrition. The Zero Hunger Challenge has since garnered widespread support from many member States and other entities. As a part of the program it also calls for zero loss or waste of food.

As the world population continues to grow, much more effort and innovation is needed in order to sustainably increase agricultural production, to improve the global supply chain, to decrease food losses and waste, and to ensure that all who are suffering from hunger and malnutrition have access to nutritious food.

Though plenty of legislative measures are already taken, food waste still faces ignorance and inappropriate behaviour of consumers, suppliers, manufacturers etc. An increase in integrated decision-making processes at national and regional levels are needed to achieve synergies and adequately address trade-offs among agriculture, water, energy, land and climate change. Our main aim is to discover additional ways to reduce food waste within Member States, leverages to urge all stakeholders to contribute to a green economy and to sustainable growth by changing their attitude to food consumption and waste.

[1] Gustavsson et al, 2011; Bio Intelligence study, 2010
[2] FUSIONS Definitional Framework for Food Waste. Full report. 3 July 2014

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