Australian charity OzHarvest to highlight global food waste at the Sustainable Innovation Forum

  • December 01, 2014

OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue charity, is taking its message on stopping global food waste to the international stage at this year’s Sustainable Innovation Forum 2014 (SIF) in Lima, Peru.

When the 350+ delegates convene at the SIF - held at the margins of the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference, or COP20 - on 9 December, they will be treated to a lunch banquet with a ‘rescued-food-theme’ twist.

Peruvian-based celebrity chef, Diego Muñoz, and Executive Chef from Lima’s 5-star Westin Hotel, Wilfred Dass, have designed a lunch menu for the Forum using a selection of surplus produce saved from landfill and sourced from local farmers and suppliers.

The lunch is modeled after OzHarvest’s annual Think.Eat.Save events that feed thousands of people across the country with rescued food and raise awareness about global food waste.

The lunch is being hosted at the SIF in partnership with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Climate Action.

“As soon as I heard about what OzHarvest, UNEP and Climate Action were planning for the lunch, I knew I needed to be involved,” Muñoz said. “For me, cooking does not start when you turn the fire on or you grab a knife, but rather it begins right where food is sourced, on the land or in the sea.”

“My philosophy for food is based on respect, protection and care of products and just knowing that so much food is wasted every day, goes against that philosophy."

In Australia, $8 to 10 billion worth of food is wasted each year. In the United States it’s four times that amount, costing $48.3 billion per annum. Approximately 6.7 million tonnes of food ends up in landfill in the United Kingdom – organic waste is the largest source of methane emissions. Worldwide, 1.3 billion tonnes of food produced for human consumption is wasted each year.

Peruvian actor and activist Jason Day supported the organizations’ efforts to highlight food waste globally and locally.

“OzHarvest’s visit to Peru for the UNEP & Climate Action Sustainable Innovation Forum represents a clear opportunity for this country to learn, assimilate and turn into public policy such an innovative approach to food and fight against hunger in a very sustainable way,” Day said.

Dass, the Head chef of the Westin Hotel tasked to feed 350 delegates said, “The Westin Hotel in Lima is proud to be working in collaboration with OzHarvest, UNEP and Climate Action to minimize food waste and we will continue this legacy in Peru and hope to see others in the industry follow”.

Claire Poole, Director of Climate Action, said: “When convening such a large number of high profile individuals, it’s important that the food be of the highest standard, but also sourced and provided with the guiding principles of what we are all working towards. We must ensure we are practicing what we preach.”

More on food waste

The impact of food waste is not just financial; it results in wasted land and water resources, fuel, labour and energy. 805 million people suffer from hunger though a third of food produced goes uneaten. Rotting food generates substantial methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas. The total carbon footprint of food produced but not eaten is 3.3 Gt of carbon dioxide equivalent; as a country, food waste would rank as the world’s third top emitter after the USA and China.

“UNEP is tackling food waste head-on with its Think Eat Save methodology for food waste prevention at city, country and company level- currently being piloted in Johannesburg and expanding to other regions very soon. We are delighted to be working with OzHarvest and Climate Action in Lima to underline the importance of reducing food waste in fighting both hunger and Climate Change.” – James Lomax, Sustainable Food Systems Programme, UNEP.

Founder and CEO of OzHarvest Ronni Kahn warns that if governments, business and individuals do not act now, our food system will be in danger.

“We know that by 2050, the global population will reach 9 billion people,” Kahn said. “For future generations, we need to make positive food choices to ensure food security for all and to ensure protection to the environment.”

“Globally, nations waste so much food, while so many go hungry and live in poverty. Each and every one of us can make a change – by reducing food waste at home, in businesses and making sustainable choices about the future of our food,” Kahn said.

Australian charity OzHarvest to highlight global food waste at the Sustainable Innovation Forum

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