September 29 has been designated by the UN as the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, with the aim of raising awareness of the serious effects of the problem and strengthening efforts worldwide - by governments, businesses, as well as citizens - to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of 12.3 (reduce food waste by 50% by 2030).
In other words, a call for action is addressed to public and private sector actors, as well as to consumers with the aim of reducing food losses and waste, in order to strengthen the efficient use of natural resources, mitigate the climate crisis and support food security.
At the same time, this year marks 3 years since the official launch - announced on 29/09/20 - of the Alliance for the Reduction of Food Waste in Greece, an initiative of Boroume with the kind support of AB Vassilopoulos.
Food waste concerns us all. At every stage of the chain, from the field to our plate. We are all part of the solution. Effectively addressing the phenomenon requires coordinated action along the entire food value chain and synergies between all parties involved.
In the Alliance for the Reduction of Food Waste, public authorities, professional and scientific bodies, food and catering businesses, civil society organizations, the academic & research community join forces. The Alliance already numbers 79 "Partners", and is under the auspices of the Ministry of Environment and Energy.
The Alliance Members implement numerous initiatives and actions to reduce food waste with a positive environmental, social and economic impact (see 3rd Report - Report 2022), having as priority axes, among others:
- raising awareness among citizens, training pupils/students/employees, etc.,
- quantification of food waste,- holistic approach with an emphasis on prevention,
- promoting the donation of food surpluses for a charitable cause,
- research & innovation,
- contribution to the formulation and implementation of public policy in Greece.
At European Union level, reducing food waste is a high priority, with member states required to regularly submit data on national levels of food waste, take measures and monitor the effectiveness of their implementation. In addition, the European Commission has recently proposed the establishment of legally binding reduction targets.
At the national level, the adoption of certain measures – within the framework of Law 4819/2021 – to deal with food waste in Greece is a first step. What is required is the formation of a public policy with a holistic approach, which will include, among others:
- systematic counting of food waste levels with quantitative and qualitative research to identify main causes / points of waste along the chain, in order to take targeted measures and evaluate their effectiveness,
- public campaign (permanent nature) with the aim of informing and behavioral change of citizens, as already implemented by other EU member states,
- reduction of food waste in public bodies (such as public hospitals, school meals, student cantines, Armed Forces, etc.), through the inclusion of the objective in the National Action Plan for the promotion of Green Public Procurement (as regards the supply of food and catering services),
- implementation of incentives with an emphasis on prevention (e.g. donation for a charitable cause, etc.).
Finally, all of us as active citizens, given that approximately 50% of total food waste occur in households, we are called to contribute to prevention starting from our home. It is enough to adopt some simple practices in our daily life, while reducing food waste, we save money and at the same time effectively contribute to mitigating the climate crisis.