Pact Against Food Waste Signed by German Ministry of Food and 14 Retailers & Wholesalers

Cem Özdemir, German Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), and high-level representatives of 14 retail and wholesale companies from Germany signed the voluntary agreement to reduce food waste on 27 June 2023 in Berlin.

The pact represents the ambitious target agreement towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 12.3) drafted by the Dialogue Forum for Wholesale and Retail to Reduce Food Waste in Germany under the coordination and moderation of the CSCP. The draft had been submitted to the BMEL for political review in December 2022, when the Dialogue Forum project officially ended.

The signatories from the wholesale and retail sectors not only commit individually to reduce their own food waste by 50% by 2030 and 30% by 2025 respectively, they also commit to support food waste reduction at the interfaces with their suppliers, customers, and redistribution organisations. It is foreseen in the pact that a minimum of eight elective measures chosen from a catalogue of actions must be implemented annually.

Furthermore, the following five aspects are compulsory for all companies that signed the pact:

  • continuously develop the redistribution of unsold or surplus food still fit for consumption
  • prioritise the avoidance of food waste in accordance with the food use hierarchy (avoidance before recovery
  • support and not prohibit the alternative sale, distribution or other use by suppliers of surplus quantities of edible goods / seasonal articles
  • train relevant employees particularly towards shelf life and, for example, reducing prices for products near expiry dates

An annual report containing monitoring data and information on the actions taken will be published, thereby enabling an assessment of the effectiveness of the agreement.

“The agreement is truly a great result of the collaborative journey we have gone through together in the Dialogue Forum”, states Nora Brüggemann, who coordinated the Forum until December 2022. “It values the hard work and efforts of each involved stakeholder and underlines the commitment of the companies to live their responsibility in the fight of food waste.”

With regards to the BMEL, Brüggemann adds: “It will be important, that the ministry and government now supports the pact from its own end. A consistent policy framework is needed to improve the conditions of engagement in a sector to enable an overarching, collaborative exchange along the entire food supply chain to effectively deal with the complexity of this task.”

The Dialogue Forum for the Reduction of Food Waste in Wholesale and Retail had the objective to map the reduction of food waste, set relevant targets up to 2030, develop as suitable formats for implementation and monitoring, and agree on these in the form of a so-called target agreement.

A total of 23 companies (18 companies from the food retail sector and six from the food wholesale sector) expressed their willingness to cooperate accordingly by signing a declaration of participation to the Dialogue Forum for the years 2019-2022 and actively contributed to achieve the set objectives.

A final report described the commitment of the 23 participating companies as well as the joint forum work, which has been coordinated by the CSCP in cooperation with the Thünen-Institute from September 2019 to August 2022 and can be downloaded here.

For further questions, please contact Nora Brüggemann.

Photo © BMEL / Schwalm