Lidl food waste

Lidl’s food waste inititative

Businesses that invest in curbing food waste could stand to earn a 14-fold return on investment, according to new data released by the UN Champions 12.3 initiative.

Analysis of more than 700 companies operating in foodservice, hospitality and retail across 17 countries showed that for every £1 spent on reducing waste via new equipment, product redesigns or awareness campaigns, companies saw an average return of £14. Restaurants recouped the most, followed by foodservice and retail.

The figures were unveiled yesterday as part of a report on the business case for curbing food waste presented by Champions 12.3, a group of 41 leaders across public and private sectors chaired by Tesco CEO Dave Lewis. The group works towards the global Sustainability Development Goal to cut food waste levels in half by 2030.

“Anyone who runs a business knows waste is a drain on money and resources,” said Lewis. “We wanted to set out clearly the investment case for reducing food waste to help urge more businesses to take action to tackle it. There are still too many inside business and government unaware and unsure of the kind of impact they can have by reducing food loss and waste and, to speak candidly, there are still too many businesses and government not doing enough to help tackle waste.

“There are lots of reasons but partly because there isn’t a clear set of data and published economic analysis for reducing waste that CEOs can point to. This report articulates exactly that and the findings could not be clearer.

“The research showed that 99% of businesses had a positive ROI in curbing food loss and waste and on average for every $1 invested there was a $14 return. In other words, reducing waste is a real business opportunity for manufacturers, retailers, restaurants and the hospitality business. It’s good for business, for consumers, for society and the environment and that’s why we’re asking more companies to join us to endorse our target, to measure their waste and to take real action toward halving global food waste.”

Reacting to the report FareShare CEO Lindsay Boswell added: “Redistributing surplus food to people in need is not FareShare’s only aim; we also work directly with companies to help them plan, anticipate surplus and support them in taking proactive steps towards greater efficiency and waste reduction.

“The evidence is clear: when you add the business case for proactively managing food waste with the environmental and social benefits it is not just business that benefits, but our wider society too.”