12.3 Reducing food losses
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Since 2012, the campaign "Too Good for the Bin" (Zu gut für die Tonne!) has been showing how consumers can reduce food waste. With the National Strategy for Reducing Food Waste adopted in 2019, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) is placing greater focus on the sectors of primary production, processing, wholesale and retail, and out-of-home catering in addition to private households. The aim is to halve food waste in Germany at retail and consumer level by 2030 and to reduce food waste along the production and supply chain. Actors from the food industry have joined forces in the association "United against waste" to promote the networking and dissemination of solutions for out-of-home consumption. Concrete assistance for the catering sector is provided, for example in a practical guide published by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). In order to promote the exchange between the public sector and practical actors and networking among each other for further successful implementation of the waste prevention program, the UBA and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) organized the Waste Avoidance Dialogues 2014-2017, in which food waste was also a core topic.
The scientific community is also actively researching ways to reduce food waste. One example is the EU project REFRESH, in which Germany participated as one of four pilot countries. This project tested new approaches to reducing food waste and then derived corresponding policy recommendations. In February 2019, the Federal Cabinet adopted a National Strategy to reduce food waste and achieve SDG 12.3. This strategy identifies the causes of food losses and identifies fields of action for their reduction.
The "Global food loss index", developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and supplemented by a "Food Waste Index" to determine the volume of waste at the end of the food supply chain, is intended as an international indicator for measuring the achievement of the SDG 12.3 goals. In order to meet the international targets, the EU member states commit themselves by means of the Waste Framework Directive to prevent food losses and to monitor their extent. The European Commission, together with the members of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Waste, has developed a methodology for collecting food waste. In 2019, a delegated act was finally adopted to supplement the framework directive with a methodology for the uniform measurement of the volume of food waste. This means that the member states are now obliged to monitor the results. On this basis, an indicator of food losses and waste in Germany is to be included in the progress report of the Sustainability Strategy 2020. The concept for data collection and concrete calculation is currently being developed.