The Final Report of the Dialogue Forum Highlights Companies’ Commitment and Engagement to Reduce Food Waste

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:

  • The participating companies implemented far more than the minimum four required elective measures from three categories. Between September 2019 and April 2022, the 23 companies implemented a total of 88 measures internally, 62 measures at the interfaces with suppliers and 52 measures to improve food redistribution. A total of 202 measures were specified. 16 of these measures are described in more detail in a case-study collection, to create visibility for single activities, inspire replication and foster the exchange of experiences. In so-called demonstration projects, three measures were scientifically evaluated with regard to their efficiency and effectiveness.
  • To improve the quality of data on food waste, all members have internally collected relevant information as part of their engagement in the Dialogue Forum. Furthermore, 22 of the companies have provided their own data in the form of write-offs for 2019 and 2020.
  • Four companies have also cooperated with the Thünen Institute to gather insights on the theoretical potential to further extend cooperation for food redistribution.
  • To consolidate the results achieved in the dialogue forum, the members have finally – with the support CSCP – prepared a target agreement in which they commit to reduction measures in support of SDG 12.3 on reducing food losses. It is planned to further discuss the voluntary agreement on a political level and with the companies that participated in the forum.
  • Each of the 23 companies works with food banks, food sharing or local organisations to redistribute food that is still edible. In addition, 52 measures have been taken to further improve the redistribution process.

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 and is a member of the European Consumer Food Waste 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.

For further information, please contact Nora Brüggemann.