By: Andy Harig, Vice President, Tax, Trade, Sustainability & Policy Development, FMI
Solving the food waste problem takes collaboration throughout the supply chain and recently leaders from the leading food industry associations shared their commitment to this cause:
“The Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA) was founded with the conviction that the entire supply chain has a role to play in reducing food waste; food retailers are committed to fulfilling their responsibility in addressing this issue of such tremendous impact for the communities we serve.” – Leslie Sarasin, President and CEO, FMI
“Food waste remains the single largest category of material in U.S. landfills. By collaborating with FMI, NRA and these federal agencies, the CPG industry can better share best practices to reducing waste and find innovative, scalable solutions to keep valuable material like food and packaging out of landfills.” – Geoff Freeman, President and CEO, GMA
“The restaurant industry is one of opportunity, and reducing food waste provides our members with more opportunities to serve our communities and our customers.” – Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO, National Restaurant Association
These founding members of FWRA signed an important memorandum of understanding with three key government agencies – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The agreement means the industry and federal government will be working hand in hand to implement food waste reduction efforts across the supply chain. Here’s a breakdown of what’s including in this MOU:
Collaboration and Education
The FWRA and federal agencies will collaborate on a national effort to:
- Educate and engage industry members to reduce food waste, including strategies to prevent, recover and recycle excess food.
- Inform stakeholders of food waste reduction recognition programs currently available at each respective federal agency.
- Share best practices on successful, creative and innovative solutions to reduce wasted food across industry sectors.
- Increase industry awareness of the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act in an effort to encourage safe and effective food donation and recovery.
Identify Infrastructure Gaps
Under the MOU, FWRA and federal agencies will collaborate to better understand infrastructure gaps and other constraints to food donation, scrap recycling and adoption of innovative technology in order to identify potential areas for improvement.
Through standing internal update calls, FWRA and federal agencies will discuss ongoing education and advocacy efforts related to food waste reduction in food supply chains.
An Open Invitation
Beyond the new MOU, FMI recently participated in a congressional staff briefing on business efforts to combat food waste hosted by the Congressional Food Recovery Caucus. More than 40 Capitol Hill staffers were in attendance to hear representatives of FWRA describe supply chain efforts to increase food donations, find alternative outlets for unused food, and reduce the amount of product sent to landfill. The event highlighted the industry’s extensive donation programs, the GMA-FMI voluntary date labeling effort and was an opportunity to showcase the work of food retailers on this issue.
If your company is working to reduce food waste, we welcome you to join the Food Waste Reduction Alliance and share best practices, lessons learned and help our industries and federal government work together towards food waste solutions.