In 2020 the UN declared the 29 September as an annual “International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste”. Certification of companies along the food value chain can play a major role in ending the unacceptable waste of resources.
According to the UN, the number of people affected by hunger has been slowly on the rise since 2014 and tons and tons of edible food are lost or wasted every day. In 2022 it was estimated that between 691 and 783 million people were unsure of where their next meal was coming from.
Globally, around 13 percent of food produced is lost between harvest and retail and an estimated 17 percent of total global food production is wasted in households, the food service and retail all together. Food that is lost and wasted accounts for 38 percent of total energy usage in the global food system and also impacts other resources such as water, land labour and capital.
Furthermore, the disposal of food loss and waste in landfills leads to greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change. Food loss and waste can also negatively impact food security and food availability and contribute to increasing the cost of food.
Although it may not be possible for individuals and organisations to address the issue in areas over which they have no control, there is much that can be done by businesses to help reduce the quantity of food lost or wasted from production up to point of sale to the end consumer.
Several bodies have established standards for businesses and organisations involved in food production, processing and distribution. These include GLOBALG.A.P. – the world's leading farm assurance program, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standards for responsibly farmed seafood, The LEAF Marque standard for an integrated farm management system, The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmarked standards and not forgetting the ISO standards for environmental and energy management systems.
Implementing one or more of these standards will aid in identifying ways to reduce food loss and waste and improve environmental performance. Built upon best practices, they are starting points for continuous improvement and reducing negative impacts.
DNV is an accredited certifying body for all of the aforementioned standards and many more besides. Once an organisation decides to work towards certification within its own operations or along its supply chain, DNV can assist with the appropriate training and certification related to the chosen standard.
“It is important for us all to help alleviate the global challenges caused by loss and wastage of food. Companies opting to work to contribute can greatly benefit from working to a standard. Achieving certification demonstrates commitment and contribution,” said Barbara Frencia, Business Assurance CEO in DNV.