Food loss and waste

October 8, 2021
ESG Insights

SDG 12.3 – halving global food waste by 2030 and reducing food loss along production and supply chains

Sadly, the world is not on track to achieve SDG 12.3 –and staggeringly, 14% of food produced is lost between harvest and retail, while an estimated 17% of total global food production is wasted.

This food waste equates to $1 trillion per year in economic losses and 25% of all food-related GHG emissions. In Australia alone, we waste 7.3 million tonnes of food per year. This equates to a disturbing 300kg per person, and equates for 5% of our GHG emissions.

At the same time, 1 in 9 people go to be hungry each day, a situation that has also been exacerbated by COVID. And with the global population projected to reach over 9 billion by 2050, we will require a 70% increase in food production – whist simultaneously land suitable for farming is shrinking by 5 million hectares every year, soil quality and agricultural yields are decreasing, weather extremes and physical risk impacts on crops are increasing, we need to cease deforestation and land clearance for agriculture, and poverty and inequality is increasing.

It is very clear then, that food waste is one of the first and most crucial steps in addressing both climate change (SDG 13), life on land and biodiversity loss (15), the increasing global hunger challenge (SDG2) and poverty and inequality (SDG’s1 and 10). This increasing knowledge is both an opportunity and a responsibility for both the public and private sector to prioritise actions and move ahead with innovation to reduce food loss and waste towards restoring and building back better and resilient-ready, food systems.

In addition, Ethical Partners firmly believes that are real opportunities for companies in addressing food waste, including reducing profit loss and helping to create better supply chain management and efficiencies. There are also clear reputational and financial risks to those businesses who are not addressing these risks. This in turn then is obviously an important consideration for investors and our clients returns, and therefore we strongly believe there is an important opportunity and responsibility for investors to work with companies to encourage them to better address food waste and create more efficient food systems.

Our Engagements on Food Waste

Ethical Partners has engaged regularly with companies across the ASX on food waste, and are proud to see the initiatives that many companies are taken, as below – and we are also proud to count several of these companies as portfolio holdings.

We commend portfolio companies Woolworths and Coles (held by some of our funds), ANZ and Bega, Graincorp (held by all of our funds) and other companies we have engaged with such as Goodman, Lend Lease, Inghams, Wesfarmers, Fonterra and Flight Centre, for their corporate partnerships with OzHarvest, Second Bite or Foodbank. The topic of food redistribution holds particular relevance to us this week, as we have just been extremely privileged to interview Ronni Khan, the founder of OzHarvest on our podcast. Ronni, and her work and passion for sustainability and supporting the vulnerable, is incredibly inspiring. Please have a listen, we promise you will be blown away… ! It is available on our website or on Apple Podcasts.

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