Recently, the Food Loss and Waste (FLW) Protocol partnership released the first-ever global standard that provides requirements and guidance to measure, report on, and manage the amount of food removed from the food supply chain. The Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard, or the FLW Standard, was created with the hope that global guidelines would help minimize food loss and waste (FLW). The FLW Protocol partnership, which was convened by the World Resources Institute, presented the standard at the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) 2016 Summit in Copenhagen.
According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), approximately one-third of all food is lost or wasted worldwide. This costs about US$990 billion per year. At the same time, nearly one billion people are hungry. Reducing food waste can help strengthen food security, provide economic benefits, improve natural resource use efficiency, and reduce environmental impacts.
While global progress is being made to minimize FLW, many governments and businesses still do not know how much food is wasted, or where FLW occurs. Further, data surrounding this issue varies widely, which means that it is difficult to compare situations and develop solutions.
The FLW Standard provides consistent accounting and reporting requirements to help countries, cities, and companies track how much FLW is generated and where it ends up. This can bring governments closer to meeting international commitments like the Paris Agreement on climate change and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which call for a 50 percent global reduction in food waste by 2030. It also helps companies and businesses report FLW and develop strategies to reduce it.
“This standard is a real breakthrough. For the first time, armed with the standard, countries and companies will be able to quantify how much food is lost and wasted, where it occurs, and report on it in a highly credible and consistent manner,” said Andrew Steer, the President and CEO of the World Resources Institute. “There’s simply no reason that so much food should be lost and wasted. Now, we have a powerful new tool that will help governments and businesses save money, protect resources and ensure more people get the food they need.”
In developing the standard, the FLW Protocol followed a multi-stakeholder process, consulting government agencies, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, businesses, and academic institutions around the world. The FLW Protocol partners include The Consumer Goods Forum, FAO, FUSIONS Project, U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), and the World Resources Institute.