A global standard for food waste has been launched to help empower businesses in food and drink supply chains to measure, report and manage food loss and waste.
The Food Loss and Waste (FLW) Accounting and Reporting Standard was developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) alongside several other leading organisations, including the Consumer Goods Forum, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and UK waste charity, WRAP.
It is the first internationally-agreed standard to help the private sector measure and prevent food waste.
It will also help governments to meet their international commitments, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which target a 50 per cent reduction in food waste by 2030.
To comply with the standard, companies must report on the amount and type of food waste they generate from operations and supply chains, and where the waste ends up.
As a result, they will be better equipped to take action and demonstrate improvements to stakeholders.
Andrew Steer, president and chief executive of the WRI, described it as a “real breakthrough”.
“For the first time, armed with the standard, countries and companies will be able to quantify how much food is lost and wasted, where it occurs, and report on it in a highly credible and consistent manner”, he said.
“There’s simply no reason that so much food should be lost and wasted. Now we have a powerful new tool that will help governments and businesses save money, protect resources and ensure more people get the food they need.”
It is estimated that one third of all food is currently lost or wasted worldwide, costing up to $940 billion (£715 billion) per year.
According to WRAP, businesses in UK grocery supply chains could save £300 million a year by taking measures to reduce food waste.
The charity estimates that around 450,000 tonnes of food waste could be prevented at source in UK supply chains by 2025.
Some large companies, such as Nestle and Tesco, are already measuring and reporting on their food waste and are working with their supply chains to ensure best practice.