This article originally appeared on 1 October, announcing the launch of the Australian Food Pact. The Pact will infact be launched on 21 October. We apologise for any confusion caused.
Updated 7 October
On the United Nations’ International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste (29 September) Stop Food Waste Australia (SFWA) released its 2021-25 Strategic Plan, outlining four main areas of action to halve Australia’s $36.6 billion annual food waste problem by 2030.
SFWA CEO Dr Steven Lapidge said: “The 7.6 million tonnes of food wasted by Australians each year is enough to fill the MCG to the brim nearly nine times over, and that costs our economy $36.6 billion a year.
“This has flow-on effects for the environment, generating 17.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions annually, representing nearly four per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
“And it comes at a time when one in five Australians are food insecure, and food charities have seen an average increase of 47 per cent in demand for their services in the last 12 months,” said Lapidge.
SFWA’s 2021-25 Strategic Plan articulates four areas of action:
- Australia’s first ever national voluntary food pact agreement;
- development of sector action plans to provide targeted attention to food waste ‘hotspots;
- communicating, engaging and partnering for impact; and
- monitoring and reporting.
The voluntary food pact’s mission is to work with its industry, government, and food rescue partners. It will be officially launched on 21 October, by Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley.
Having led similar voluntary agreements overseas, SFWA chief operating officer Mark Barthel said the food pact will revolutionise food waste management in Australia.
“Other countries, such as the UK, have successfully implemented similar agreements and achieved excellent results.
“Signing up to the Australian Food Pact represents a multi-year commitment for the businesses who grow, make and sell our food to develop solutions and implement change at scale,” said Barthel.
Barthel added that SFWA has been working with all levels of government, industry bodies and food rescue organisations across the nation.
“Stopping food waste in Australia represents a significant challenge, one that’s too big for any one organisation to solve. For Stop Food Waste Australia, we recognize that these partnerships with the Government, industry and food sectors are vital to us meeting our food waste targets as a country,” he said.