Australia’s biggest food industry participants – including founding signatories Simplot Australia, Woolworths and Coles – are collaborating under the new Australian Food Pact, which is tackling the country’s $36.6 billion food waste challenge.
The Australian Food Pact is a voluntary agreement that was launched at a virtual event on 21 October by Sussan Ley, federal minister for the Environment.
Led by Stop Food Waste Australia (SFWA), the Australian Food Pact represents one of the largest, most tangible demonstrations to date in helping the federal government reach its target to halve food waste by 2030.
“Food waste is a local, national and global challenge,” SFWA CEO Dr Steven Lapidge said.
“Australians waste 7.6 million tonnes of food each year, equivalent to more than 300kg of wasted food per person per year. The Australian Food Pact represents a major step forward in our bid to reduce food waste and I commend all the signatories for their commitment to take action.”
Similar voluntary agreements overseas, such as the UK’s Courtauld Commitment, have successfully reduced food waste at scale.
“Overseas experience shows that voluntary agreements work and based on the heartening response from our food industry to the Australian Food Pact, it will work here as well,” SFWA chief operating officer Mark Barthel said.
“By joining the Australian Food Pact, signatories will be able to improve profitability, respond to supply risks and opportunities, provide innovative solutions, be more competitive and create quality products with lower environmental impacts.”
Simplot Australia is the first organisation to sign up to the Australian Food Pact. Simplot Australia’s managing director, Graham Dugdale, said the company strongly aligns and identifies with the Australian Food Pact’s goal and mission.
“We were inspired to be the first signatory, because it will give organisations like ours the opportunity to reduce food waste,” Dugdale said. “While collaborating with industry experts and like-minded organisations to improve Australian agricultural and food manufacturing productivity and practices.”
UK environmental charity, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), is also a founding partner of the Pact.
“This is a crucial step in the fight against climate change,” WRAP international director Dr Richard Swannell said.
“Food loss and waste is responsible for 8 to 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and if it was a country would be the third largest emitter in the world. What Australia has started today will not only benefit its citizens and businesses, but the environment as a whole.
“I am delighted that WRAP was able to work with partners in Australia to develop this exciting initiative and we look forward to helping deliver its ambitious goals.”
The founding signatories for the Australian Food Pact include:
- Simplot Australia
- Woolworths Group
- Mars Australia
- Mondelēz Australia
- Goodman Fielder
- ARECO Pacific
- McCain Foods.
Other household names have indicated that they will follow in the coming months.
For more on the Australian Food Pact, visit https://www.stopfoodwaste.com.au/australian-food-pact/.