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Calls to Action for Government 

In Aotearoa, the volume of food waste and associated emissions are largely unknown,  and food waste occurs across the whole supply chain. The drivers of waste are systemic and complex, and solutions require collaboration from all stakeholders.   

Food waste significantly contributes to climate change; however, its reduction is not a priority in our national climate-related policies.   

To achieve change at scale, everyone needs to know their role in food waste reduction (accountability), see where the waste is (evidence), what to do about it (best practice solutions) and work together to reduce it (collaboration).  

The Role of Policy

We see the role of policy is to provide a plan, including priorities and accountabilities, produce evidence and information for govt stakeholders to take action, implement best practice solutions (e.g. national baselines, sector action plans, collaborative industry agreements, national awareness campaigns) and create an enabling and cross-functional regulatory environment. 

Calls to Action for Government 

To keep up with leading nations, Aotearoa's food waste policy should: 

1. Create a shared plan with shared purpose and responsibilities across the whole food supply chain to reduce food waste for Aotearoa's environment, communities and industry: 

  • Rationale:  Current food waste reduction activity can be siloed, and there is no clear articulation of each stakeholder's role in reducing food waste or contributing to the national effort most effectively. We call for a policy that a) sets clear roles for each category of stakeholders (e.g. local government, industry, recovery sector, food rescue, etc) and b) further sets responsibilities on the generators of food waste to measure and monitor their impact and c) empowers via information, capability building, research, funding support or otherwise all stakeholders to play a role in ensuring our food is eaten by people, and value is capture from unavoidable waste. (Suggested policy mechanism - national plan or Sector Action Plans). 

2. Make food waste a climate solution in national and regional climate policies and industry climate accountabilities 

  • Rationale: Food waste is a significant contributor to the urgent issue of climate change, and its reduction is a lesser-known opportunity for our national and business climate goals.  We call for a policy that better connects these issues within government, industry and civil society.  

3. Build the national evidence base to support all stakeholder decisions on food waste:  

  • Rationale: Good data is the basis of good decisions. We call for investment and coordination to continuously improve food waste data, using the best practice Target Measure Act model as the foundational framework. Better measurement will enable transparency, accountability, targeted solutions and evaluation of actions.  This will allow stakeholders to understand our national challenges, reveal opportunities, and galvanise action.  

4. Support best practice whole-of-system collaborative solutions such as Sector Action Plans, collaborative industry agreements (e.g. Kai Commitment) and organisations that coordinate large-scale food waste reduction activities. 

  • Rationale: Food waste reduction is a system problem that cannot be solved by consumers or businesses alone. Policy needs to take a food system approach that articulates a sense of urgency, ownership and collaboration on food waste reduction amoung a broader set of businesses and organisations.  Support for coordinating organisations like the NZ Food Waste Champions 12.3 policy can accelerate large-scale change faster than individual businesses or stakeholders working alone.  Best practice solutions internationally have provided significant long-term funding for sector action plans and independent coordinating organisations to coordinate industry-based collaborative policy programmes such as the Kai Commitment. 

5. Leverage existing policy within a cross-functional environment for food waste reduction  

  • Rationale: Food waste policy is currently siloed across social and environmental policy, yet many internationally successful solutions require an integrated approach.  We call for activation of food waste reduction through existing policy and oversight of industry mechanisms as part of a cross-sector approach (e.g. Tax incentives, Grocery Code, Nationally Determined Contributions, Climate Reporting, Date labelling and cosmetic standards) 

Suggested Policy Mechanisms: 

  1. Sector Action Plans coordinated by an independent, national partner organisation (e.g. NZFWC12.3) [either in the context of a national plan or as a standalone programme of work.

  2. Elevation of food waste reduction into climate policy - (e.g. NDCs, Methane Pledge, SDGs, ETS, Climate goals, MPI and MBIE plans, Industry climate obligations and reporting) 

  3. Continuous Improvement in National Baseline and other mechanisms for measuring and reporting data (e.g. Kai Commitment, which uses UNFLWR international standard) 

  4. Ongoing-long long-term support for collaborative programmes such as the Kai Commitment and organisations that can coordinate and connect the sector activity (e.g. NZFWC12.3) 

  5. Review and oversight of existing policy and industry mechanisms for opportunities activate food waste reduction or broader food system sustainability considerations which food waste forms part of (e.g. environmentally, socially and fair and ethical food system)(e.g. Tax incentives, Grocery Code, Nationally Determined Contributions, Climate Reporting, Date labelling and cosmetic standards) 

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