🌱 Food Waste Action Week: How Gousto are going for gold, and your business can get involved.
Featuring MOTH, Simba, Dove, Belazu and more...
This week is Food Waste Action Week! We’re covering:
Quick Take: Food Waste Action Week: What’s the current state of industry food waste?
Brand Spotlight: Gousto: Going for gold on their journey to create a more sustainable food system.
In case you missed it: 🌱 Need a business case for reducing food waste? Read on...
> Good News Last Week
🎯 MOTH, TRIP, The Uncommon, Longbottom & Co and Jukes Cordialities joined forces to share the Canifesto, open letter to the hospitality industry. The manifesto highlights the sustainability credentials of the can and promotes that the switch can help on-trade achieve their environmental goals, with a 79% CO2e reduction when switching from a 75cl glass bottle to 250ml aluminium can.
🎯 Reskinned in partnership with eBay, launched the resale charity auction for Love Island preloved looks. Looking to maximise the lifespan of clothing, the partnership encourages brands and customers to rehome unwanted clothes.
🎯 Simba became the first ‘sleep brand’ to certify as B Lab UK, with a score of 97.5. The UK manufactured mattresses are produced in zero waste factories, with all manufacturing waste recycled or reprocessed. Launching their not-for-profit recycling service in March 2023, the brand will continue to work towards achieving their goal of Net Zero by 2030.
⭐️ Nokia launched a DIY repairable Android phone, Nokia G22, in partnership with iFixit, able to be repaired at home and the battery swapped within 5 minutes. Partially made from recyclable plastic and with a large battery capacity, the budget friendly phone will cost only £149.00 with an extra cost for replacement parts.
⭐️ Dunelm and Hubbub announce their pilot Home to Home, an initiative aimed at highlighting the value of unwanted homeware. Dunelm stores joining forces with local community groups will redistribute pre-loved homeware to reduce household waste and benefit the local community.
⭐️ Tesco’s fruit & veg farmers achieved LEAF eco-certification, based on delivering more sustainable and climate-resilient farming practices. Through a whole-business approach that delivers multiple benefits across the environmental agenda, farms are able to achieve the certification.
⭐️ Dove launched their first refillable and reusable deodorant packaging to provide an accessible refill solution for customers. The stainless steel case is ‘super-durable’ and the exterior of the pack incorporates 96% recycled plastic and is 100% recyclable.
⭐️ Waitrose rolls out soft plastic recycling scheme in 295 stores across the UK. For any flexible, mono-material plastic packaging including crisp packets; carrier bags; baby and pet food pouches; bubble wrap; cling film and plastic bags used for salad, pasta, rice, frozen food and cereal.
⭐️ Tesco replaced their plastic washing detergent packaging with recyclable cardboard packaging made from 90% recycled FSC certified cardboard. A move that will save 252 tonnes of plastic annually.
> Click on each link to read more.
> Quick Take
Food Waste Action Week: What’s the current state of industry food waste?
Reducing food waste is number 4 on Project Drawdown’s list of solutions to tackling the climate crisis and limiting temperature change to 1.5 degrees at the end of the century; after generating energy via onshore wind turbines, via solar panels and eating a plant-rich diet. It’s estimated that one third of all the food produced in the world goes to waste, totalling 1.3 billion tonnes and enough calories to feed every malnourished person on the planet. Let’s not also ignore the fact that in the UK alone wastes ~9.5 million tonnes of food a year, the equivalent of 15 billion meals a year. That’s enough to feed everyone in the UK 3 meals a day for 11 weeks.
So what is being done to tackle food waste & bring the UK inline with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, to halve food waste by 50% by 2030? And what can business learn from those spearheading the space?
Here’s the current breakdown of UK food waste and surplus (that is not redistributed across the supply chain):
When it comes to tackling food waste, taking a sector specific approach may be more useful and give faster, more effective results than a “one size fits all” approach. Let’s take a look…
At the customer level, Food Waste Action week (6-12th March) exists to tackle food waste in households. This annual week of action by WRAP aims to bring the nation together to save time and money by making the food we already have go further. Businesses have a great opportunity to support this, as well as campaigns including the ReLondon Eat Like A Londoner, to influence consumer choices and decisions.
At the production level, businesses can influence and implement initiatives from source to save food waste from ever existing. For example, between 2013 and 2020, Tesco managed to cut food waste by 50% and save a huge £63 million as a result of their food waste reduction initiatives. Gousto are working on ‘smart forecasting’ to optimise their resource use and subbing in ingredients when surpluses are likely (read on for our Brand Spotlight on them this week!).
At the policy level, the UK Government’s proposed timeline of implementing mandatory reporting is not scheduled to begin until 2026/2027. Management follows measurement, and without data to measure performance, businesses and key stakeholders within the food industry have been taking matters into their own hands to collect data and quantify food waste across the food industry for more targeted management within business.
In 2010, businesses began to make waste reduction commitments at a completely voluntary level. Tesco reported their food waste figures across their supply chain in 2013, kicking off a multitude of campaigns for all businesses to openly report their food waste. In 2018, WRAP launched their roadmap for the UK food industry to accelerate action towards achieving SDG 12.3 and the Courtauld Commitment 2030.
In 2020 however, WRAP highlighted that the majority of businesses were still disclosing the information directly to WRAP rather than publishing the data openly.
Proposed policy change submitted to DEFRA outlines a move from a voluntary approach to reporting on food waste to public reporting of data for businesses over a particular size. The proposal aims for mandatory reporting by large and medium food businesses within the retail, manufacturing, hospitality and foodservice sector. Increased transparency will also encourage best practice and encourage collaboration to improve at an industry level.
So, how can businesses get ahead, and get involved?
Collect food waste data across your supply chain and report to WRAP to help them build a picture of food waste within the industry.
Check out WRAP’s latest Progress Report.
Publicly report food waste data.
Collaborate with other businesses and share your wins and challenges towards reducing food waste.
Businesses who form the B Corp working group on food waste have been getting together to share industry knowledge and tackle the big issues that they face in reducing food waste.
Put pressure on the Government to bring forward mandatory reporting. Sign the petitions and publish a statement of support.
Tesco and the WWF published a roadmap to track and reduce food surplus and waste on UK Farms.
Educate your employees and your customers on the issues of food waste, the importance of reporting and raise awareness on how to mitigate food waste at work and at home.
And if your business really can’t avoid surplus stock, leverage partnerships with charities like Fareshare, local food banks, City Harvest, the Felix Project, TooGoodToGo and Olio to redistribute excess meals to those in need.
> Brand Spotlight
Gousto: Going for gold on their journey to create a more sustainable food system.
As our Quick Take breaks down, there’s a huge opportunity to both put people and planet first by evolving our current food system. Enter Gousto. The B Corp certified meal-kit delivery company delivers 2 million meals a week, and could ‘save the UK 10.3 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year’ if each household received just one Gousto box a week. Compared to the same shop at a traditional supermarket, a Gousto box has a 23% lower footprint too. How? Redesigning how they plan, source and use our food has been the baseline of Gousto’s business strategy since 2012. They’ve also split how they see their own impact into four key pillars; reducing food waste, reducing carbon emissions, more sustainable packaging and promoting sustainable food sourcing. Let’s dig in…
Reducing food waste:
Arguably the key pillar of Gousto’s impact strategy (and on brand for this week), there are a few ways they’re reducing food waste:
Data analytics are key. Gousto uses data to optimize their supply chain, reduce packaging waste and reduce waste in their supplier’s operations too. Claiming to be more efficient than sourcing from a supermarket, utilising data analytics allows the team to know exactly how much food they need, when, and where. In 2021, they saved 24,000 tonnes alone from being thrown away as a result. Not stopping there - they’ve even built a spinout company called Bento, allowing companies to harness the power of Gousto’s learnings over the last 10 years.
They focus on redistribution to avoid waste. In 2021, they also donated a total of 424,469 meals via FareShare. In 2022, they kicked off a 12 week pilot at the Trussell Trust’s Hammersmith & Fulham Foodbank to swap ‘standard food parcels with fresh ingredients and healthy Gousto recipes’ (read more here).
They have a zero waste to landfill policy. Working with FirstMile for London, and Veolia for their fulfillment sites, Gousto sends any waste for anaerobic digestion, which in turn generates biogas and bio fertiliser.
Reducing carbon emissions:
With 98.7% of Gousto’s CO2e emissions located in their Scope 2 (in 2021), and 34.4% of total emissions from the growing and processing of their food, Gousto are well aware of where they can make significant reductions. Now, they’ve set a target of becoming a carbon-neutral company by 2030.
How will they achieve this? By investing in renewable energy sources (such as solar panels), using electric vehicles for deliveries, working with suppliers to reduce their carbon footprint (both via using more sustainable transportation methods and by promoting more sustainable farming practices too), and focusing on providing more plant-based meals.
More sustainable packaging
Cutting plastic packaging where possible, and ensuring that all plastic packaging can be recycled, Gousto is aiming to close the loop and ensure nothing makes it to landfill (like their food!). Committing to this, they’ve joined The UK Plastics Pact - where members aim for 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic packaging by 2025 (read our debrief on this here). Signs of progress are visible - 58% of all Gousto own-brand ingredient packaging was recyclable in 2021, vs 33% in 2020.
Promoting sustainable food sourcing:
With a Gousto ‘Code of Conduct’ that all suppliers must sign up to, they’re setting standards that their partners must follow. Focusing on transparency, confidentiality, anti-bribery, fair wages, safe and fair working conditions and freely chosen employment - it’s quite the list! Many of their suppliers are also innovating in their own categories - such as utilising hydroponic production to grow pak choi. Finally, 33% of recipes were plant-based or vegetarian in 2021, a number that is only set to increase.
How are the Gousto team working on these areas? As an idea…
Each year they do a Materiality Assessment. Quizzing internal and external stakeholders as to what matters most to them from an environmental and social perspective, in 2021 the results were; packaging, sourcing, food waste and emissions.
They measure what matters. They’ve worked with both Foodsteps and Alruistiq to get a handle on their impact and conduct LCAs.
They join national schemes and movements. They’re part of The UK Plastics Pact (led by WRAP) and B Corp, among others.
Gousto’s commitment to sustainability has helped the company both attract environmentally-conscious consumers and positioned it as a leader in the growing meal-kit delivery industry. A driver for change in our national food systems, we’re excited for their updated Impact Report this year, and to see what else they’ve been working on behind the scenes too.
Take a closer look at Gousto:
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🌱 Need a business case for reducing food waste? Read on...
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