25 September 2018: this morning at the Champions 12.3 event the Food Reform for Health and Sustainability (FReSH) project – a partnership between the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and EAT – announced the creation of the Food Loss and Waste Value Calculator that allows to instantly estimate the value of food loss and waste in terms of the nutrition being lost and in terms of environmental impacts.
FReSH recognizes the immense opportunity of addressing food loss and waste to improve the efficiency of the global food system and to tackle nutrition security and environmental impacts.
Companies can use the tool to proactively prioritize food loss and waste streams from an environmental impact or nutrition standpoint, as well as the potential value of mitigation solutions. They can also use the tool to retroactively calculate the value of previously saved food loss and waste quantities in terms of nutrition and environmental impacts. In this way, the tool can help communicate about food loss and waste and focus on the actions needed to mitigate its impact on climate change and the sustainability of food systems. The tool is intended to be used as a screening process to indicate areas that require further scrutiny or prioritization and to give a rough estimate of the impact.
The tool complements the Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard through the World Resources Institute (WRI). The goal is to develop and realize the benefits of targeted reduction strategies. FReSH aims to work towards the United Nations SDG target 12.3 on food loss and waste in a way that leverages the power of reduction strategies to bolster food system’s sustainability.
The tool aims to provide a first step to allow businesses and organizations to understand the value of their food loss and waste and develop and communicate on intelligent mitigation strategies. Quantis has developed the tool, building on years of expertise in the environmental impact modelling of food systems, with guidance from WRI.
The tool considers impacts across the food product life cycle or value chain, from agricultural production on the farm all the way to disposal. In summary, the total environmental impacts of food loss and waste are a result of its initial agricultural production impacts and any relevant impacts associated with subsequent handling, storage, processing, distribution, cooking and disposal (such as greenhouse gas emissions from landfill). The current version of the tool uses generic agricultural production data for different crop types (regional data is used when possible) and assumptions for all post-harvest processes (such as transport distances and cooking times). The tool estimates the various nutrients lost through food loss and waste and calculates and ranks the per-person daily values that would hypothetically be satisfied if the loss and waste did not occur and if the food was consumed instead. Understanding the nutritional losses associated with food loss and waste can help identify areas of the food system that require mitigation to bolster the capacity to sustain nutrition security.
The tool will soon be made available on the Food Loss and WasteProtocol’s website. We invite all interested entities to use the tool, provide feedback and identify areas of future work.