November 4, 2020. The Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC) is committed to supporting businesses that are implementing measures to reduce and prevent wasted food in the region by 50% by the year 2030 as part of the West Coast Voluntary Agreement to Reduce Wasted Food – a regional public-private partnership of local jurisdictions focused on carbon reduction in line with the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions goal and Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 from the United Nations.
Reducing food waste at scale requires meaningful measurement across supply chains and broader engagement from industry in addition to policy actions at the local, state, and regional level. To bolster this, PCC’s West Coast Voluntary Agreement to Reduce Wasted Food is facilitating action-focused working groups among food businesses that have signed on to the Agreement and local jurisdictions.
The working groups enable participants to work together to address key barriers for reducing wasted food across the supply chain. These include developing tools to support food waste prevention, and sharing best practices and lessons learned across the areas of policy, financing, and business operations. Through these efforts, PCC and its Resource Partners — ReFED, WRAP UK, and WWF — and the Voluntary Agreement’s food business signatories will create interim benchmarks to 2030 that address a full suite of actions to measure, report, and reduce wasted food across the supply chain.
Two priority product types identified by PCC partners and signatories as having the greatest potential to impact food waste reduction across the Pacific Coast are dairy and produce. Working groups for both product types brought together industry stakeholders to take a holistic farm-to-fork view, identify efficiency priorities, and tackle challenges that are difficult for any one business to address on their own.
Along with the establishment of working groups is the creation of the Policy Roundtable, which aims to provide a safe space and forum for business signatories to discuss current and future policy among both their signatory peers, as well as the larger overall group of jurisdiction partners. Regional sprint groups will then be formed to focus on the areas of the participating US states and municipalities, in order to allow for deeper discussion between signatories and representatives from their local jurisdictions about policy issues.
“The PCC Policy Roundtable offers a rare opportunity for businesses’ voices to be heard by their local jurisdictions, whether through feedback on current policy or providing suggestions and ideas for those policies not yet written,” says James Pronio, PCC’s Business Support Manager. “It also opens up the door to jurisdiction partners looking for industry-specific insight and impact from those policies. At the end of the day, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.”
Participation in the working groups is open to all Voluntary Agreement food business signatories and, where relevant, external technical experts who can provide advice on addressing the challenges faced by businesses in reducing wasted food. In general, participants are expected to:
- Commit to participate for a minimum of the first year or through to agreed milestones;
- Provide expert input to ensure that activities and outputs are fit-for-purpose;
- Deliver actions as voluntarily committed to at meetings; and
- Disseminate activities and outputs from the group to others in their organization or network.
With only ten years left to 2030, eliminating the amount of food that goes uneaten is more critical than ever to address the looming climate emergency it is contributing to and sustainably feeding the growing population. Scalable and collective efforts are needed, and PCC’s systems-level approach has the potential to drive industry progress and support tangible action that will help build a regional roadmap for reducing wasted food.
Currently in the United States, 40 percent of perfectly good food that goes uneaten each year is the single largest category of material placed in municipal landfills. In fact, we spend $218 billion a year on food that is never eaten — the production of which has a greenhouse gas footprint equivalent to adding 37 million more cars to the road. The PCC’s goal to address wasted food across the food retail industry will have benefits including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving water and land resources, and supporting those facing food insecurity – which has become increasingly critical in the wake of COVID-19, as the amount of food at risk of being wasted has risen and more Americans are seeking food assistance.
While the food waste reduction movement has gained momentum, effectively solving this collective challenge requires a collective effort. As such, PCC invites leaders from the food product and retail industries to collaborate and convene with West Coast jurisdictions in order to lead the country in addressing an environmental, hunger, and climate change crisis by reducing wasted food by 50 percent by 2030 and increasing food recovery.
For more information about the West Coast Voluntary Agreement to Reduce Wasted Food, please visit https://pacificcoastcollaborative.org/food-waste/ or contact James Pronio, WWF at James.Pronio@wwfus.org.