Data shows that the highest share of food waste is generated at the consumption stage, including households and food services such as school, hospital, or company canteens. Behavioural factors are among the leading causes of food waste at the consumer level. A group of multi-disciplinary researchers and practitioners from Europe are working together to collect evidence on these topics, but also find solutions and develop tools to help reduce consumer food waste.
Together, they represent the European Consumer Food Waste Forum, set up by the Joint Research Centre in collaboration with DG SANTE, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety. The forum’s aim is to gather evidence and identify a variety of practical solutions to reduce food waste at the consumer level, including household and food services. The forum will prepare research- and evidence-based recommendations and develop a compendium of effective tools that can be applied by the EU Member States as well as regional and local administrations to help reduce consumer food waste.
In 2022, CSCP’s Senior Project Manager, Nora Brüggemann joined the forum. As an expert on food waste reduction, she will draw on experiences made from CSCP projects such as the EU-funded REFRESH project or the coordination and moderation of the Dialogue Forum of Retail and Wholesale to Reduce Food Waste in Germany. Brüggemann will also work toward creating synergies with our recently-launched project, CHORIZO and link to projects such as REIF, which is looking into approaches and concepts to reduce food waste based on Artificial Intelligence. Brüggemann will also draw on learnings from our behaviour change programmes, the Academy of Change (AoC) and weiter_wirken.
The forum will disseminate its results in summer 2023.
For further information, please contact Nora Brüggemann.
In January 2023, the CSCP and 28 projects partners from 12 European countries came together in Dublin, Irland, to kick-off the Circular Economy Resource Information System (CE-RISE) project. In line with the European Green Deal, which aims for net-zero emissions by 2050, the main objective of the project is to minimise the loss of secondary raw materials (SRM) and optimise their reuse within value chains. It will do so by developing and piloting an integrated framework and resource information system.
The information system will identify optimal solutions for the effective reuse, recovery, and recycling (RE) of materials:
The CE-RISE information system will be piloted through the development, implementation and evaluation of five case studies in the fields of information and communication technologies (ICT), heating systems, photovoltaics and batteries. In particular, the role of the CSCP will entail stakeholder engagement and training by identifying RE and SEE criteria for product systems, providing recommendations on how to efficiently and effectively implement RE-criteria in companies as well as developing training and learning materials for different stakeholders along the value chain. In addition, the CSCP will be involved in providing the theoretical basis for the case studies.
At the project kick-off in Dublin, organised by the project coordinator, the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), the project partners presented and discussed the different project work streams and aligned on how to best collaborate toward greater impact.
CE-RISE will run for four years by working in collaboration with 28 partners, associations and affiliations from universities, research institutes, recycling companies and producer responsibility organisations, amongst others. CE-RISE is funded by the European Commission.
For further questions, please contact Marianne Magnus-Melgar.
From 2019 to 2022, the CSCP coordinated and moderated the Dialogue Forum for the Reduction of Food Waste in Wholesale and Retail in Germany (HandelsforumRVL). In support of the German government’s goal to significantly reduce food waste along the supply chain by 2030, the Dialogue Forum had a mandate to map the reduction of food waste, set relevant targets up to 2030, develop suitable formats for implementation and monitoring, and to agree on these in the form of a target agreement. The final report reviews the achievements of the 23 involved companies, including the drafting of an ambitious target agreement towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.3, currently being reviewed by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
A total of 23 companies (18 companies from the food retail sector and six from the food wholesale sector) emphasised their willingness to cooperate by signing a declaration of participation in the Dialogue Forum for the years 2019-2022 and actively contributed to achieving the set objectives.
During the course of the Dialogue Forum, the 23 participating companies have engaged on many levels and achieved numerous results, including the following:
For additional details, please download the full report.
“The commitment and the variety of different measures to concretely reduce food waste are exciting”, states Nora Brüggemann, the CSCP Senior Manager who coordinated the Dialogue Forum. She further notes that, “Much has been achieved already. However, the experience of the Dialogue Forum shows that regular exchange formats are necessary for practical knowledge gains and competence development, particularly in areas where activities carried out by single companies are not sufficient. This holds true for the implementation of key measures at the interfaces to other sectors (production-retail, retail-consumer or retail-redistribution), which require further attention and alignment.”
“The cooperation in the forum also showed that regarding the impact of the measures, potential assessment, and conflicting goals, there are limits for individual companies but also for sectors. A consistent policy framework and overarching exchange along the entire food supply chain is necessary to effectively resolve the complexity of the task with all stakeholders.”, adds Brüggemann.
“I am deeply impressed by the high level of commitment and engagement the companies have shown with regards to the preparation of an ambitious but still realistic target agreement toward achieving SDG 12.3.”, concludes Brüggemann.
The CSCP coordinated and moderated the Dialogue Forum from September 2019 to August 2022in cooperation with the Thünen-Institute.
During the past two years, through our weiter_wirken project we accompanied more than 40 representatives of German civil society organisations (CSOs) and supported them in increasing the effectiveness of their projects. Based on insights from behavioural and communication sciences, the participants were trained to design and communicate behavioural interventions to achieve greater sustainability.
Looking back at two successful rounds of weiter_wirken, one participant noted: “By applying the content to our own practical project, we gained an intuitive approach to knowledge.”, while another emphasised that “Through this training, my project and I have grown and we are now repositioning ourselves in the organisation.”
In order to build a long-term network that enables ongoing collaboration, in November 2022 a weiter_wirken Community of Practice was launched. This way, former participants of the weiter_wirken project can continue to exchange best practices and generate new knowledge on topics of interest.
During the launch event, participants had the opportunity to exchange on the topic of “Transformative Education and Social Change”. Marie Heitfeld, policy advisor in education for sustainable development at Germanwatch e.V., presented the handprint perspective. Further training as part of the weiter_wirken Community of Practice will be organised by the Stiftung Umwelt und Entwicklung Nordrhein-Westfalen.
weiter_wirken is a cooperation project between the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP), ecosign / Akademie für Gestaltung and the Stiftung Umwelt und Entwicklung Nordrhein-Westfalen.
For further questions, please contact Jennifer Wiegard.
Managing and responding efficiently to disaster situations, requires a high-level of coordination and cooperation from those in charge of the command through to the first responders on the ground. Emergency events linked to waterborne pathogen contamination are among those where stakeholder engagement is crucial to ensure the deployment of appropriate technologies and responses.
Our PathoCERT project is driving forward the development of novel and easily usable technological solutions, services, and governance mechanisms to increase the situational awareness and coordination of first respondents on the ground and key actors operating along the command and control chain, enabling them to rapidly and safely respond to threats. The preparedness level to effectively and timely react and operate in the occurrence of waterborne pathogen contamination events requires not only a set of tailored technologies, but also an effective coordination and collaboration among different stakeholder groups.
Similar Community of Practice meetings will follow up in 2023 combined with on-the-ground training activities and/or tabletop simulation exercise.
If you want to know more about multi-stakeholder engagement processes, check out the PathoCERT explainer video.
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Further details on stakeholder management activities within the PathoCERT project are included in the project publications:
The PathoCERT project is funded under the European Union research programme, Horizon 2020 and runs until 2023.
For further information, please contact Francesca Grossi.
Design is on everyone’s lips, so we asked our design team to share how they integrate design in our work. In this interview, Nikola Berger, Head of Creative & Communication and Eva Rudolf, Senior Designer at the CSCP explain how design can be a lever to achieve greater impact.
The CSCP lives by a holistic and impact-oriented understanding of design. Can you explain what this means in a nutshell?
Nikola Berger: Design has been an integral part of how we work for more than a decade: to translate research into language and visuals that can be grasped by a wide audience has supported our goal to mainstream sustainability and often sets us apart from other organisations in the field. Beyond translating, we use design processes (design thinking, service design, human and non-human centric design processes) to bring holistic sustainability perspectives to people in change processes—which is a core aspect of our work.
The majority of our projects have a change component, where design helps achieve solutions on many levels and through different means. Sometimes this happens in creative workshop formats that bring experience and interactive participation into the focus in order to support collaboration and inspire. We call it “getting unstuck!“ Other times we support impactful solutions by working with non-human personas to challenge fixed conceptions and open the door for new ideas.
Can you give us an example?
Nikola Berger: In our Sustainable Island Mauritius (SIM) project, our design team was tasked to support over 40 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop new products or redevelop existing ones more sustainably. Most of these organisations don’t have a product designer and consist of rather small teams that multitask to grow their business on an island with limited local resources. For this group, we translated the enormous amount of design resources that is now available (through many great organisations) into basic modules focused on values and impact closely linked to the local context. We started with sustainable design concepts but included the CSCP’s handprint approach. Then we created a co-creation process between SMEs and the tourism industry to work together to have a positive impact but our approach applies to any design process: A video summary shows a detailed account of our work in the SIM project, highlighting the co-creation process. In addition, our Creative Guide Book summarises our extensive work on the island for 5 years and shares some of the tools that SMEs can adjust and use based on their needs.
You mentioned the handprint approach, how does that apply to design?
Eva Rudolf: We start off with basic sustainable design principles, which means considering the whole lifecycle of a product (or a service, infrastructure, or system) and its impact across all stages. We take a look at the negative impacts of all lifecycle stages and try to reduce it as much as possible. This is key, but an additional aspect that we are trying to include is to also to consider what positive impacts (handprint) a product or the whole organisation/system can have.
In real contexts, how do you design for positive impact?
Nikola Berger: We should design with people and the environment in mind. Is this product (or a service, infrastructure, or system) needed? How will it make the world (someone’s life) better? Does it have to be a product or can we develop a service or experience? Then, as we develop sustainable products or services with the smallest possible footprint, we can consider the positive and regenerative effects we want to have. This often means that we need to collaborate, maybe with the community, across sectors, with civil society organisations (CSOs) and our clients.
So, basically, we need more design in our projects?
Eva Rudolf: Exactly! A lot of the things that we use, look at, or are surrounded by are made by humans. No matter if you use your mobile phone, read a newspaper, watch an ad, use an APP or commute to work – all these things and processes have been designed by people. To make it short, our world is permeated with design and this is what brings it to the centre of transformation processes, making design a key driver of change. To bring it to the sustainability field, it is claimed that about 80% of the environmental impact of a product or service* – in particular its resource and energy consumption along its entire value chain – are already determined in the design phase.
To fully leverage this potential, we advocate bringing experts from our creative network from various disciplines (e.g., product design, design for sustainable behaviour, design for sustainable social innovation, design for system innovations and transitions, and others) into projects and onto the table. For example, when we run a project where developing circular products/models is at the centre, a product designer in the mix of stakeholders is very important.
Across all our projects, we work toward achieving the goals and visions set in major frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or the EU Green Deal. All of these frameworks refer to design as a core tool in change processes.
For further questions, reach out to Nikola Berger or Eva Rudolf directly.
*Ellen MacArthur Foundation
The number of tourists that Mauritius welcomes every year almost matches that of its 1.26 million inhabitants. This shows the importance of tourism for the country’s economic development. But how could tourism be used as a force for good and support Mauritius to become a “Green Destination”, a goal that the government aspires to achieve by 2030.
To make this happen, comprehensive strategies that reduce the footprint (negative impacts) while increasing the handprint (positive impacts) are essential. As part of the Sustainable Island Mauritius (SIM) project, the CSCP collaborated with the Mauritius Tourism Authority to promote sustainable tourism by demonstrating and scaling up mechanisms for improving sustainability impacts along the value chains. The project brought all relevant stakeholders together through capacity building programmes, networking activities, co-creation workshops, and awareness-raising campaigns.
In recognition of its work, the SIM project was awarded the prize “Best Tourism NDC Investment Initiative of the Year” at the African NDC Investment Summit & Awards at COP27 in Egypt. Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are targets that countries determine themselves to stop and mitigate climate change. The Sustainable Island Mauritius project has been awarded for its contribution toward circular, sustainable, inclusive, and regenerative tourism, supporting Mauritius to make substantial progress on its NDC targets. The shortlisted candidates included 100 projects from 43 African countries and all 5 African sub-regions.
The SIM project was funded under the Switch Africa Green Programme, implemented by the Mauritius Tourism Authority (TA) and the CSCP. The recently published final project report highlights promising solutions in the tourism industry that can support Mauritius to achieve the goal of becoming a Green Destination by 2030 as well as to increase its resilience toward global and local challenges, including climate change and biodiversity loss. You can find the full report in our library.
For further questions, please contact Kartika Anggraeni.
Businesses from all sectors, from pharmaceutical companies to agricultural corporations, depend on healthy ecosystem services as a prerequisite for their production processes. Our German Biodiversity & Business (UBi) project is supporting businesses to integrate biodiversity into their strategic planning and environmental management and develop goals that reduce biodiversity loss in the first place.
With the launch of its new website, UBi offers companies and business associations a platform where information and know-how are shared in order to support them make forward-looking decisions and find solutions that contribute to biodiversity protection and conservation.
UBi develops sector-specific biodiversity checklists, provides information on greening companies’ premises, shares concrete examples of sustainable supply chains, and offers relevant actors a network to engage and act.
Among others, the UBi website provides detailed insights into the topics:
The UBi website is also a platform to enable learning and exchange, including webinars, coaching sessions, lectures and further training as well as numerous networking events to come together on current relevant topics such as the new German supply chain act, deforestation free supply chains, ESG and other upcoming policies.
For further questions, please contact Ellen Land.
The potential of recycling multilayer packaging in Europe is not an easy topic. The packaging solutions are popular with major food manufacturers due to product safety and particular suitability for branding. However, multilayer packaging is prone to numerous challenges related to sorting, separation, and delamination at the end-of-life phase.
How can we increase the rate and recycling quality of multilayer packaging? Are new technologies on waste sorting, layer separation, and material recovery suitable for the waste management sector in Germany? Industry experts discussed these questions in a multi-stakeholder workshop in Cologne in November 2022. At the ‘Packaging Club’ meeting, the CSCP presented new technologies currently under development in MERLIN, an EU-financed project. This included robotic units for detection and sorting of flexible and rigid packaging waste, chemical delamination of the various layers, and recovery of PE and PET monomers.
Waste managers, recycling companies, research institutions, and industry associations discussed the innovation potential of these technologies and critically reflected on the economic and technological feasibility of adopting them for use in the German waste management systems. This feedback from the participants is key for the MERLIN project to gauge the interest, concerns, and reactions of potential end-users to MERLIN products and will help the project align its research and development focus with the demand.
In the following months, the CSCP will co-organise further Packaging Club meetings with international experts around Europe to create a holistic view on MERLIN technologies.
Do you want to participate in the next Packaging Club meeting? Are you interested in the results and first insights of this meeting? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will keep you updated!
For further questions, please contact Fiona Woo.
Demands on packaging are increasing: it should be protective, stackable, informative but also practical, attractive and circular. To fulfil these requirements, consumers should be taken on board. That’s why understanding their behaviour is crucial, also in order to understand how behavioural challenges can be overcome.
Circular packaging – that is, packaging designed to be reused, recycled, or composted – is both a question of supply and demand. Of course, companies can and need to opt for the most sustainable packaging approaches. But what if certain types of packaging have a low acceptance level, leading consumers to break the loop?
In the “Club for Sustainable Packaging Solutions” as part of our Consumer Insight Action Panel, the CSCP has worked with retailers, manufacturers, recyclers, academia, civil society, and a consumer community to identify behavioural challenges of consumers when aiming to establish circular packaging solutions. Drawing from the Club member’s expertise, we digged deeper to better understand consumer behaviour and their underlying needs and reasons.
In this video series (in German), we present our findings to decision-makers in companies to encourage and enable them to package both sustainably and in a consumer-friendly way. The series comes shortly before the demand to offer reusable packaging for all to-go food and beverages sold in Germany becomes mandatory on 1 January 2023. The demand (Mehrwegangebotspflicht) is part of the new Packaging Act and obliges companies to offer reusable packaging that is not more expensive or worse off (higher overall product price, limited packaging sizes) than disposable alternatives. The CSCP is part of the Implementation Alliance for the regulatory request and actively involved in the question of how new reusable packaging solutions can also be accepted by consumers.
The video series includes practical and easily-digestible chunks of information (10-18 min per video), including the topic of re-usable packaging. Starting with the chicken-and-egg problem of responsibility for circular packaging, the series also covers packaging myths and complexities, approaches to multiple uses of packaging, and presents design and evaluation tools. Since the retailer’s point of view is always of central importance for manufacturers, we interview experts from two German retail companies in the last video.
The videos are in German and you can watch them by clicking on the respective links below:
The Consumer Insight Action Panel is a CSCP programme. This round of the Club for Sustainable Packaging Solutions was made possible with the support of the German Federal Foundation for the Environment (DBU).
For further questions, please contact Stephan Schaller.