Stop the Rot Campaign

The International Food Loss and Food Waste Studies Group is proud to be an endorser of  Stop the Rot campaign which calls for the big four supermarkets in the UK to step up to their responsibilities for the massive waste of food in the supply chain, by:

  • regularly publishing their in-store and supply chain’s food waste data, including collaborating to measure food waste on farms by 2018 to enable targeted reduction
  • committing to ambitious targets to reduce their own stores’ and their manufacturers’ food waste by 30% by 2025

please sign the petition at WWW.CHANGE.ORG/STOPTHEROT

UK food industry businesses waste over 7 million tonnes of food annually, by throwing away this huge amount of food before it even gets to our plates. That’s enough to lift all the hungry people in the UK out of food poverty, and equal to about half the food wasted in the UK. Farm and factory food waste is hugely affected by supermarkets’ policies.

Farmers can spend all year growing fruit and vegetables, just to have them rejected for being the wrong shape or size. Or overproduce for fear of being struck off if they even miss an order. One farmer had to plough 300,000 perfectly edible cabbages back into the field. These unjust, wasteful practices need to be stopped.

The food industry is on the cusp of a historic 10 year long agreement to reduce their food waste. But this Courtauld 2025 agreement, to be introduced in 2016, seems at the moment as if it will focus on consumers, and let industry off the hook.

Stop the rot

New agreement on food waste reduction needs stronger targets and better baseline data

Stop the Rot is a new campaign launched today by food waste campaign group This Is Rubbish, with the aim of raising the ambition of UK food businesses and the UK government for the new 10 yearlong agreement to reduce UK food waste Courtauld 2025.

This Is Rubbish sees that the limited ambition of both UK food businesses and the UK government is currently holding back the Courtauld 2025 agreement and will limit its effectiveness. Crucially, lack of accurate data means that the estimated 3 million tonnes of farmlevel food waste (about 40% of supply chain food waste) are currently not included in the Courtauld 2025 food waste reduction targets. And it seems that Courtauld 2025 targets for reducing the 4.15 million tonnes of retail and manufacturing level food waste will only aim for a maximum reduction of 12% over 10 years.

This is why Stop The Rot calls on supermarkets to commit to ambitious food waste reduction targets of at least 30% by 2025, both in their stores and in their manufacturing suppliers, and also asks supermarkets and the UK government to fund the measurement of farm food waste by 2018, so targets can be set for that too.

Widespread endorsement for Stop the Rot! campaign

Stop the Rot! campaign has the support of a wide range of environmentalists and food activists , including Rosie Boycott, Hugh FearnleyWhittingstall, Friends of the Earth, George Monbiot, Feedback, Thomasina Myers, Dr Tim Fox, Joanna Blythman, Arash Derambarsh, and many more. Rosie Boycott, chair of the London Food Board, said: “I’ve put forward Stop the Rot’s petition because we need urgent change to address supply chain food waste. Consumers are currently asked to do the lion’s share of tackling food waste, but many businesses waste more in a day than a consumer does in a year. We need greater transparency from supermarkets about the waste in their supply chains, and ambitious commitments to reduce it. With enough public pressure, we can achieve that.”

Hugh FearnleyWhittingstall said: “The cost of UK food waste is currently borne by the environment, our farmers and producers, and by the consumers who pay for food that doesn’t even get to them. Lifting the lid on food waste in our supply chains, and tackling it, makes sense for everyone. It’s time to Stop the Rot.” Kerry McCarthy MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “I very much support Stop the Rot’s work in highlighting the issue of onfarm food waste. It is vital for us to understand the scale and cause of food waste on farms and much more needs to be done to reduce it. Its campaign for a much stronger Courtauld 2025 relies on the ability of WRAP to be properly resourced and funded. Indeed, while the market fails to provide sufficient incentives to reduce food waste, WRAP must continue to be properly funded to carry out its vital food waste reduction work.”

Friends of the Earth said “The amount of food wasted globally is a travesty. In total, 1.3 billion tonnes of it is binned each year – about a third of all food produced for human consumption. This wasted food requires huge quantities of fresh water, labour and land to produce, generating a carbon footprint of over 3 gigatonnes if it were a country, it would be the 3rd highest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. Yet Britain is the most wasteful country in the European Union when it comes to food, with 15 million tonnes per year feeding no one. The FAO estimate that if the food wasted or lost globally could be reduced by just one quarter, this would be sufficient to feed the 870 million people suffering from chronic hunger in the world. That’s why tackling food waste in the UK’s supply chains is vital to ensuring we can feed the world without destroying the planet.”

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