Major companies including General Mills, Kellogg, PepsiCo, Unilever and Walmart have pledged to halve food waste and loss in their operations by 2030.
The EPA and US Department of Agriculture announced the first 15 US Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions yesterday: Ahold USA, Blue Apron, Bon Appétit Management Company, Campbell Soup Company, Conagra Brands, Delhaize America, General Mills, Kellogg Company, PepsiCo, Sodexo, Unilever, Walmart, Wegman’s Food Markets, Weis Markets and Yum! Brands.
“Already, Kellogg has reduced waste sent to landfill by more than 60 percent since 2005, including food waste,” said Diane Holdorf, Kellogg’s chief sustainability officer, in a statement. “We remain committed to ensuring edible food waste is donated to feed people in need, when appropriate. We also will continue our partnerships to develop sustainable agriculture programs with smallholder farmers that help prevent post-harvest loss in major ingredients relevant to Kellogg.”
Each 2030 Champion has agreed to establish a baseline marking where they are today and will measure and report on their progress toward the goal. Because there are many ways to define and measure food waste, the EPA directs businesses to the Food Loss and Waste Protocol for information on defining and transparently measuring food loss and waste.
The EPA estimates that more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material, making up about 21 percent of the US waste stream. Reducing food waste also impacts climate change as 20 percent of total US methane emissions come from landfills.
Reducing food waste can be an economic boost to companies as well. A recent study that looked at business opportunities related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals found the biggest is in reducing food waste in the value chain, which could yield up to $405 billion annually in economic benefits.
The 2030 Champions announcement follows the first-ever US food loss and waste reduction goal announced in September 2015.
“Reducing food waste is good for business, it’s good for the environment and it’s good for our communities,” said EPA administrator Gina McCarthy. “We need leaders in every field and every sector to help us reach our food loss goal. That’s why we’re excited to work with the 2030 Champions and others across the food retail industry as we work together to ensure that we feed families instead of landfills.”