The World Resources Institute and Reforming the Food System

From by Allyn Rosenberger
The World Resources Institute and Reforming the Food System

The World Resources Institute (WRI), a global research organization that focuses on critical issues at the intersection of the environment and development, launched their Creating a Sustainable Food Future series to provide research and insight into how to feed more than nine billion people by 2050—what they call the Great Balancing Act. The series advances their mission to secure a sustainable food future through research, partnerships, and solution development.

Each installment of the series presents potential solutions to achieving the Great Balancing Act by exploring significant challenges and emphasizing relevant research. Installment two, "Reducing Food Loss and Waste," and installment 11, "Shifting Diets for a Sustainable Food Future," offer suggestions for reforming the food system.

In "Reducing Food Loss and Waste," they highlight the implications of the amount of global food loss and waste—24 percent of all calories produced for human consumption are wasted. They present five recommendations for mitigating this issue, the first of which is to establish a food loss and waste protocol. Since the release of this installment in June 2013, they have created such a protocol and, in doing so, have established themselves as food waste reduction leaders and champions.

Their Food Loss and Waste Protocol (FLW Protocol) is a multi-stakeholder partnership that seeks to develop an internationally-accepted accounting and reporting standard for quantifying food loss and waste, defined as the food and associated inedible parts removed from the food supply chain. They intend for this standard to enable governments, nonprofit organizations, and food companies to account for how much food loss and waste exists, identify its source, and take action to reduce it.

Most recently, WRI’s 11th installment, "Shifting Diets for a Sustainable Food Future," emphasizes that for people consuming high amounts of meat and dairy, shifting to more plant-based diets could significantly contribute to creating a more sustainable food future. To help effect this change, they have launched the Better Buying Lab, which brings together prominent food service companies, food manufacturers, and restaurant chains to develop ways to shift consumer preference to plant-based options. The program will launch later this year.   

For more information on their food initiatives, or to support their work, visit their website