U.S. Food Waste Pact Engages Businesses Across the Country To Target, Measure, and Act To Reduce Food Waste
New Initiative Offers Collaboration Within And Across Sectors To Achieve Sustainability Goals
December 5, 2023 /3BL/ - Building on the success of the Pacific Coast Food Waste Commitment (PCFWC), nonprofit partners ReFED and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) today announced the formation of the U.S. Food Waste Pact – a national voluntary agreement enabling pre-competitive collaboration and data-driven action to reach national and international food waste reduction targets, including United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12.3. The U.S. Food Waste Pact is designed to go beyond commitment setting to drive meaningful progress on food waste reduction, as well as serve as a connective fabric to support other national and regional food waste efforts across the country.
In the U.S., 38% of all food goes unsold or uneaten – a $444 billion opportunity for the nation, including $250 billion for food businesses alone. Food waste is contributing 6% to our national greenhouse gas emissions and consuming more than 20% of our nation's freshwater supply, all while one in eight Americans face food insecurity. The U.S. Food Waste Pact will deliver on the urgent need for a national strategy and partnership to accelerate food waste reduction, which has been identified as a top solution to climate change.
The Pacific Coast Food Waste Commitment, which launched in 2019, has been a model for this pre-competitive collaborative approach to driving action in the U.S. From the outset, leaders of the PCFWC intended to build and prove a model that could scale. Five years later, formation of the U.S. Food Waste Pact is the fulfillment of that vision and currently includes participation by multiple PCFWC business signatories and other national players, including Ahold Delhaize USA, ALDI, Aramark, Bob’s Red Mill, Compass Group USA, Del Monte Fresh Produce Company, Lamb Weston, Inc., Raley’s, Sodexo USA, Walmart, Inc., and Whole Foods Market – with additional businesses encouraged to join.
The U.S. Food Waste Pact is designed around the global framework of “Target, Measure, Act,” and food businesses joining the U.S. Food Waste Pact (“Signatories”) will agree to work together alongside their industry peers toward a 50% reduction in food waste, measure and report food waste data to the U.S. Food Waste Pact annually, and participate in working groups and pilot projects to test, implement, and scale cost-effective and high-impact solutions.
“The U.S. Food Waste Pact is all about measuring and seeing action to reduce food loss and waste,” said Pete Pearson, Global Initiative Lead, Food Circularity at WWF. “Through our work with the Pacific Coast Food Waste Commitment, we’ve seen how businesses respond when we help them identify the problems within their operations and also offer solutions and insights to fix them. This new initiative serves as a national platform for the private sector to show measured progress against their waste reduction goals.”
Leveraging best-in-class data methodologies, tools, and resources, the U.S. Food Waste Pact will provide Signatories with detailed custom waste analytics, industry benchmarking, and solution roadmaps, as well as human and financial resources to support pilot projects among Signatory participants. The U.S. Food Waste Pact will anonymize and aggregate the Signatories’ reported waste data before publicly sharing the results in an annual report, providing unique and valuable detailed insights into waste trends year upon year to benefit the entire industry.
“This level of industry collaboration to reduce food waste is unprecedented and exactly what is needed to successfully address such a systems-level problem.” said Dana Gunders, Executive Director of ReFED. “The data component of the Pact – from within their own operations and from across their sector – is critical to enabling our business partners to identify where to focus their resources, while also benchmarking their efforts against the rest of the industry. Those types of insights aren’t available to businesses right now.”
The U.S. Food Waste Pact provides a unique opportunity for food businesses to further their sustainability efforts by working collaboratively to drive food waste reduction. Working with ReFED and WWF – along with WRAP serving as an advisor – Signatories to the U.S. Food Waste Pact will receive a range of benefits, including:
- Return on Investment – Food waste reduction programs around the world have shown proven significant return on investment for all types of food businesses;
- Data Insights – Aggregated anonymous reporting from all signatories enables businesses to measure their progress, identify priority areas of action, and benchmark against competitors; and
- Industry Collaboration – Pre-competitive working groups open to all signatories offer opportunities for businesses to learn from each other’s successes; discuss solutions to challenges; and engage with government leaders through special policy roundtable discussions.
Beyond the U.S. Food Waste Pact’s commitment to accelerating action, it also intends to provide the missing connection between other national and regional programs for businesses to reduce food loss and waste, such as the Food Waste Reduction Alliance and U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions by the USDA and EPA, as well as global efforts like World Resources Institute’s 10x20x30 initiative. The U.S. Food Waste Pact will complement and support these existing efforts by providing direct support for businesses who have committed to take action. In addition to the PCFWC, the U.S. Food Waste Pact has also been inspired by similar global initiatives managed by WRAP, including the Courtauld Commitment in the U.K. and Pacto Por La Comida in Mexico, which have demonstrated the benefits of businesses working together to achieve sustainability goals.
“As a partner of the Pacific Coast Food Waste Commitment, WRAP together with ReFED and WWF share an ambition to scale-up action addressing food loss and waste in the US, and contribute significantly to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 12.3. WRAP is delighted to continue this strong association as an advisor for the Food Waste Pact and contribute to the success of this initiative.” said David Rogers, International Director of WRAP. “Over the last twenty years, we have worked with partners from Mexico to Australia via South Africa and Indonesia to establish nation-specific programmes tackling food loss and waste, from farm to fork. The US Food Waste Pact is a crucial addition to this international network, enabling national delivery in the US to complement that of other nations and delivery globally on a key environmental issue facing every nation on Earth.”
For more information about the U.S. Food Waste Pact, visit http://usfoodwastepact.org/
Susan McCarthy, WWF
Jeff Costantino, ReFED
QUOTES FROM FOOD BUSINESS SIGNATORIES AND OTHERS:
“Two years ago at COP26, Walmart joined several other retail grocers, suppliers and manufacturers to launch a new public-private partnership through the Pacific Coast Food Waste Commitment because we believe strongly in purposeful transparency. The PCFWC has been a strong driver in helping us evolve our data collection and reporting on food waste and better understand areas for action. Today, we are proud to be a part of the expanded U.S. Food Waste Pact as we continue our journey to reduce food waste across the value chain. Our commitment remains to galvanize action across the retail and consumer goods sector on demonstrably reducing food waste through advocacy, supplier engagement, philanthropy and innovation.”
Chris Franke, Senior Manager, Global Sustainability, Walmart, Inc.
“At Whole Foods Market, food waste reduction is integral to our purpose to nourish people and the planet. We’re committed to minimizing food waste in our stores, keeping waste that cannot be avoided out of landfills, and increasing access to food in our local and global communities through robust food donation programs at every one of our stores. We’re proud to join the U.S. Food Waste Pact alongside a tremendous group of retailers, building on our longstanding commitment to people, the environment and our communities.”
Caitlin Leibert, Vice President, Sustainability, Whole Foods Market
“The ability to work pre-competitively with our food service peers to take action through both collaborative conversation and pilot projects has been a powerful tool in identifying solutions that turn discussion into tangible progress on reducing food waste. We look forward to the opportunities the expanded scope of the U.S. Food Waste Pact will bring to our food waste reduction efforts.”
Marie Davis, Program Development and Engagement Director, Aramark
“As a global grower of fresh produce, Fresh Del Monte takes food waste and food scarcity seriously. Reducing food waste lowers greenhouse gas emissions and minimizes the waste of valuable resources. We are proud to be a part of the PCFWC — the alliance is a part of our approach to reducing food waste. The expanded U.S Food Waste Pact will allow us to further our own efforts to reduce food waste, and also encourage others to set their own goals, and contribute to the wider progress of the Pact.”
Hans Sauter, SVP, R&D and Agricultural Services, Chief Sustainability Officer, Fresh Del Monte
“Since its founding, Bob’s Red Mill has valued wholesome nutrition that serves the planet and its people. Our sustainability efforts are paramount to providing the best quality product in the healthiest and most environmentally friendly way, and reducing food waste has been a cornerstone of those efforts. After successfully participating in a number of Pacific Coast Food Waste Commitment initiatives, we are proud to be among the first businesses to sign on with the U.S. Food Waste Pact. We know this national expansion will be instrumental to continuing our waste reduction efforts, and we are excited to work collaboratively with other signatories to reach the common goal of reducing food waste across the country.”
Meghan Keeley, VP of Supply Chain, Bob’s Red Mill
“FMI – the Food Industry Association and our members have a longstanding commitment to reducing food waste across the entire value chain. The newly established U.S. Food Waste Pact will empower food businesses with new tools and resources to take bold steps in addressing one of the most solvable challenges affecting our food system - reducing food waste."
Andy Harig, Vice President – Tax, Trade, Sustainability, & Policy Development, FMI – The Food Industry Association; Retail Lead, Food Waste Reduction Alliance
“Food businesses are increasingly realizing the economic, environmental and social benefits of reducing food waste. The formation of the U.S. Food Waste Pact will provide new insights and strategies on the fight against food waste in the U.S. This collaboration will also help to accelerate existing efforts to cut food waste, both in the US and globally.”
Dr. Liz Goodwin, Senior Fellow and Director, Food Loss and Waste, World Resources Institute