Food policy leaders release report calling on Congress to tackle pervasive food waste
Cambridge, MA – WEBWIRE – Wednesday, April 27, 2022
The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, in collaboration with NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), ReFED, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), released Opportunities to Reduce Food Waste in the 2023 Farm Bill, a new report detailing how Congress should prioritize food waste reduction in the next U.S. Farm Bill.
Every year, Americans waste over one third of all food produced in or imported to the U.S. Producing this wasted food consumes around 21% of all freshwater and cropland in the U.S. and generates around 270 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissionsequivalent to as much as 58 million cars. Recovering just 30% of this wasted food could feed every food insecure Americanabout 50 million people in 2020.
The Farm Bill, passed roughly every five years, is an omnibus bill that authorizes more than $400 billion in federal funding. It is the primary legislation addressing all aspects of the American food system. The 2018 Farm Bill was the first to include any funding for food waste reduction, but much more remains to be done. Opportunities to Reduce Food Waste in the 2023 Farm Bill provides specific recommendations for Congress to implement in the next farm bill across four key areas of food waste reduction: food waste prevention, surplus food recovery, food waste recycling, and food waste reduction coordination.
We were thrilled when the 2018 Farm Bill was enacted and included food waste reduction among its funding and programs for the first time ever, yet more must be done to ensure we reach our national goal of halving food waste by 2030, says Professor Emily Broad Leib, Faculty Director of the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic and a lead author of the report. The next Farm Bill offers a bipartisan opportunity for Congress to build on its success by enacting reforms to further reduce food waste, cut emissions, and ensure edible surplus food is able to serve those who are facing food insecurity. We urge policymakers to read our 22 concrete and feasible recommendations and incorporate these solutions into the proposed bill.
The 2023 Farm Bill is an opportunity for Congress to build on initiatives first implemented by the 2018 Farm Bill, which prioritized food waste reduction for the first time by offering funding for local community compost and food waste reduction plans, establishing a new Food Loss and Waste Liaison position at USDA, implementing a Farm to Food Bank program within TEFAP, and updating food donation standards for liability, among other successes. Opportunities to Reduce Food Waste in the 2023 Farm Bill offers Congress actionable recommendations on how to further these efforts.
The Farm Bill offers a major opportunity to improve our food system. With up to 40% of our food supply going to waste, incorporating food waste reduction strategies in the bill can ensure more food goes to feeding people, notes Yvette Cabrera, co-author of the report and Director of Food Waste at NRDC. Adopting these food waste reduction solutions also means we can keep organic materials out of landfills and incinerators, where they produce climate change emissions, and recycle them to help build healthy soil. Our report outlines bipartisan approaches that can make a real difference for the health and safety of our planet and our communities.
The Farm Bill is the largest piece of food-related legislation in the United States, and its at the core of how our food system operates, says Dana Gunders, Executive Director of ReFED and a co-author of the report. If the recommendations in this report are included in the Farm Bill, we would see measurable progress in the fight against food waste. This is how we can really drive action.
Transitioning to a regenerative food system is essential to feeding our nation and reversing climate change and nature loss. Until we address the amount of food from farm to table being lost and wasted, a regenerative system will be out of reach, says Pete Pearson, Senior Director, Food Loss and Waste at World Wildlife Fund. In the 2023 Farm Bill, Congress has the opportunity to definitively put the U.S. on a path to eliminate food waste, building on the steps taken in 2018 and ensuring the food we produce positively contributes to the health of both people and our planet. This report provides a roadmap on how we make this a reality.
The reports recommendations are based on insights from countless discussions with nonprofits, businesses, and local and state governments, comprehensive food waste reduction research conducted by ReFED and published in their Insights Engine, and stakeholder interviews with Farm Bill funding recipients.
The report indicates which elements of the US Food Loss & Waste Policy Action Plan for Congress & the Administration, released in 2021 by FLPC, NRDC, ReFED, and WWF, can be implemented in the Farm Bill. The Action Plan is supported by many American cities, non-governmental organizations, and industry leaders such as Google, Unilever/Hellmanns Best Foods, and Marriott International.
ABOUT THE HARVARD LAW SCHOOL FOOD LAW AND POLICY CLINIC (FLPC)
FLPC serves partner organizations and communities in the United States and around the world by providing guidance on cutting-edge food system issues, while engaging law students in the practice of food law and policy. FLPC is committed to advancing a cross-sector, multi-disciplinary and inclusive approach to its work, building partnerships with academic institutions, government agencies, non-profit organizations, private sector actors, and civil society with expertise in public health, the environment, and the economy. FLPCs work focuses on increasing access to healthy foods, supporting sustainable and equitable food production, reducing waste of healthy, wholesome food, and promoting community-led food system change. For more information, visit www.chlpi.org/flpc.
NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the worlds natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.
ReFED is a national nonprofit working to end food loss and waste across the food system by advancing data-driven solutions to the problem. We leverage data and insights to highlight supply chain inefficiencies and economic opportunities; mobilize and connect supporters to take targeted action; and catalyze capital to spur innovation and scale high-impact initiatives. Our goal is a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive food system that optimizes environmental resources, minimizes climate impacts, and makes the best use of the food we grow. To learn more about solutions to reduce food waste, please visit www.refed.org.
ABOUT WORLD WILDLIFE FUND (WWF)
WWF is one of the worlds leading conservation organizations, working for 60 years in nearly 100 countries to help people and nature thrive. With the support of 1.3 million members in the United States and more than 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment, and combat the climate crisis. Visit worldwildlife.org to learn more.
The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Shri Piyush Goyal today said that the inputs given by Logistics Ease Across Different States Report 2021 can lead the way to bring down logistics cost by 5% over the next 5 years.
He was addressing the gathering after the release of the LEADS Report in New Delhi today.
Shri Piyush Goyal said that India is committed to build modern infrastructure for the 21st century, at a pace never seen before.
Referring to the recently launched PM GatiShakti Master Plan ,he said that it would revolutionise the next generation of multimodal infrastructure development in the country.
Lauding Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s consistent focus on infrastructure, the Minister said that the initiatives taken by him in Gujarat for 13 years had laid the foundation for Gujarat to consistently stay at the top of the chart in LEADS report
He said that the speed of highway construction has increased three fold from ~12 km/day in 2013-14 to 37 km/day in 2020-21 and that there was a four fold increase in Railways Capex from Rs. 54,000 Crore in 2013-14 to Rs. 2.15 Lakh Crore in 2021-22.
He observed that in the 5 years before 2014, only 60 panchayats could be connected with optical fibre and that in last 7 years, more than 1.5 lakh gram panchayats connected with optical fibre.
Shri Goyal emphasized that efficient logistics was pivotal to bring ease and empowerment to businesses as well as citizens. He observed that logistics contributed immensely in our fight against COVID-19 by taking essential supplies including liquid Medical Oxygen throughout the country during the 2nd wave
Observing that logistics is an enabler of multiple visions- From Make in India for the World to Last Mile Delivery, the Minister said that to achieve ambitious targets we cannot afford to walk but we need expressways of Land, Air & Water.
He named Infrastructure, Quality Services & Conducive Regulatory Framework as the three pillars of Resilient logistics. He added that with Competitive & Cooperative federalism, LEADS is creating an Ecosystem for Excellence by bringing in a healthy competitive spirit where everyone is persuaded to improve.
“Rather than just absolute improvement in one State, improvement of logistics across all States, will be a force multiplier for the entire logistics ecosystem”, he said.
He lauded Gujarat, Haryana & Punjab for having acquired the top 3 positions respectively.
He applauded the actions taken by Gujarat Govt against LEADS 2019 recommendations such as the widening of roads, implementation of faceless services in license renewals, expansion of warehousing etc.
He also congratulated the State of Uttar Pradesh for leapfrogging 7 ranks since 2019, highest among all states, driven by policy initiatives, higher infra
spending in logistics.
Shri Goyal said that since its inception in 2018, each year LEADS report has
followed a progressive methodology to provide a granular insight on the logistics performance at State/UTs level. “LEADS 2021 has gone 2-step ahead in analysis of domestic and EXIM logistics ecosystem of the state” he added.
The Minister said that states have Indispensable role in improving the logistics ecosystem of India. He outlined a number of suggestions for States including framing of State Logistics policy & Logistics Master Plan, use single-window clearance system for logistics establishment of grievance redressal mechanism and enabling if skilling in logistics through State skilling infrastructure
He opined that LEADS report would be a handy & practical guide to identify strengths, opportunities & improve the logistics performance of States.
The report ranks the states on the basis of their logistics ecosystem, highlights the key logistics related challenges faced by the stakeholders and includes suggestive recommendations.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) had launched a study, “Logistics Ease Across Different States (LEADS)” in 2018 with the main objective of ranking States and UTs on the efficiency of their logistics ecosystem.
The first version of the report, LEADS 2018, focused on export-import trade and assessed the efficiency of the logistics ecosystem in each State and UT.
The second edition of the study – LEADS 2019, covered both international and domestic trade.
The LEADS 2021 exercise has gone one-step ahead in analysing domestic and EXIM logistics ecosystem of the state. Specifically, two improvements have been done in the overall assessment framework. Firstly, objective parameters have been used along with the perception-based indicators for index formulation.
The objective parameters in the LEADS 2021 Index have been introduced by way of an objective survey instrument administered to the States/UTs and by the inclusion of secondary datasets on logistics across the State/UT level. Secondly, the statistical methodologies to build the index has been updated to get more robust results, given change in the overall framework.
Alternatively, a total of 21 perception and objective variables have been statistically analysed to prepare a composite index basis upon which the states have been ranked.
The perception survey was administered to the four different categories of logistics stakeholders, viz. traders/ shippers, transport service providers, terminal operators, and logistics service providers.
The States’ objective survey collected binary responses in the context of the areas related to policy, institutional framework, current enforcement mechanism, warehousing approvals and processes, smart enforcement, city logistics, drivers’ empowerment, etc. to understand the initiatives taken by the different state governments towards improving the logistics environment in their respective States.
The secondary dataset was compiled with the assistance of the central government ministries, department and associated agencies.
The LEADS survey 2021 was conducted over the period from May to August 2021 in a challenging environment when the COVID crisis was being fought across multiple fronts.
The whole exercise garnered 3771 responses from 1,405 respondents across the country. For representation purposes, states have been ranked in three separate classes including ‘North Eastern States & Himalayan UTs’ and ‘Other UTs’ group.
Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab have emerged as the top performers in the LEADS 2021 index respectively.
Proactive policies, well-developed infrastructure and services driven by a responsive Government have helped Gujarat to maintain its rank. Haryana has secured the second position, followed by Punjab.
Within the North Eastern States and Himalayan Region, Jammu and Kashmir is the top ranker followed by Sikkim and Meghalaya. Delhi stands at the top rank among Other UTs. Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand have witnessed a remarkable improvement in their ranks compared to 2019 LEADS ranking and have emerged as the top improvers.
The report consists of specific section on States and UTs giving detailed analysis of their performance in the LEADS, including issues and challenges being faced by stakeholders as well as suggestions to mitigate the issues.
States/UTs are encouraged to examine and evaluate the findings of the report and to formulate a suitable strategy and a prioritized action plan for improving logistics performance.
LEADS is a continuous exercise, and the MoCI is enthused to provide a pivotal role in initiating, creating, and connecting all the stakeholders to bring in the required improvements in the logistics space collaboratively.
With the efforts in the right direction, it is hoped that the vision of logistics cost will be reduced by 5% in the next five years. This will ensure that the Logistics sector serves as an engine of growth and a key driver for transforming India into a five trillion-dollar economy.
Department of Commerce through LEADS will continuously engage with all States and UTs to support, facilitate and promote improvements in the overall logistics ecosystem. Synergies flowing from such a coordinated approach will reduce logistics costs and which, in turn, will act as significant stimulants to PM Gati Shakti National Master plan.
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