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South Africa’s top food retailers embark on initiatives to reduce food waste

Leading food retailers in South Africa have indicated a keen interest in committing to implementing initiatives to reduce food waste in their stores in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal to halve global food waste by 2030.


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 The retailers recently met in Cape Town at a workshop on how to measure their food waste in accordance with the globally recognised World Resource Institute’s Food Loss and Waste Reporting Protocol.  The retailer specific workshop was coordinated by the green economy sector development agency, GreenCape, and was facilitated by Nicola Jenkin (Pinpoint Sustainability) and Julian Parfitt (Anthesis), who are experts in the field and  have consulted for major international retailers and brands.
 
The workshop was a collaboration between GreenCape, the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA), the City of Cape Town and the retailers. Delegates included sustainability representatives from Food Lovers Market, Pick n Pay, Shoprite Checkers, SPAR and Woolworths.
 
The workshop was held at a time when the CGCSA is developing a South African Food Waste Voluntary Agreement. The agreement is being developed in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry, and co-funded by the European Union through the SA-EU Dialogue Facility.
 
Given that South Africa’s retailers sell approximately 80% of the food consumed in the country, they sit at a critical point in the value chain to influence changes to reduce some of the 10 million tonnes of food waste South Africa generates each year. Signatories of the proposed voluntary agreement will be obligated to report their food waste savings and achievements to illustrate how the South African food sector is working collectively towards achieving the UN goal of halving food waste by 2030.
 
“Retailers who attended the workshop recognised the importance of addressing food waste, with many implementing a number of initiatives to reduce food waste in their stores, most notably through the donation of surplus food to charities. By participating in the workshop and the development of the voluntary agreement, and motivated by the desire to respond to the future reporting demands of South Africa’s soon to be launched food waste voluntary agreement, they will be joining a growing international network of businesses working to resolve this global issue,” stated Nicola Jenkin after the workshop.
 
Matlou Setati, Executive, CGCSA Food Safety Initiative (FSI) says, “On our part, our members have pledged to redouble efforts to reduce waste and encourage efficient manufacturing of food throughout the value chain. CGCSA urges government to provide necessary legislative and enabling environment to assist companies achieve their objective of minimizing food waste.”
 
The CGCSA will hold more workshops for the food manufacturers and the agriculture sector in 2020 to discuss how food waste can be minimised in South Africa, where over 14 million people go to bed hungry every night.



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