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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: Development of a Code of Conduct on Food Loss and Food Waste Prevention

Laura Brenes-Peralta
Laura Brenes-PeraltaTEC / CR Food Loss and Waste NetworkCosta Rica

1) The presented outline would suggest the achievement of a CoC that entails most relevant aspects to tackle FLW, in my opinion it is comprehensive and exhaustive. However, following the LAC strategy, I believe aspects regarding governance (not only legal frameworks) and awareness can still be a bit further developed. Of course, one would understand that there are such particularities in terms of governments, governance and policy frameworks that this two aspects cannot be standardized. Still, emphasizing on the fact that FLW is a multisectoral/multidisciplinary/ multistakeholder problem, the CoC can also strengthen the need to approach this matter in the same multistakeholder way through prevention, assertive communication and commitment. Alliances are most needed to address FLW. Examples of some possible aspects to be added are ahead:

1.1-include on-going strategies as an example in local and regional levels to get the audience motivated or illustrated through practical cases, it could be in an annex section and not exactly art of the code

1.2-include food security definition, as well as many others you are already probably considering (edible, non-edible, different definitions for FLW, nutritional losses, etc).

1.3-academia and research centres are missing from this targeted audience

1.4-try to include also a focus on knowledge, practices, methods and enabling platforms to effectively reduce FLW, and not only legal frameworks which has proved resistance in some sectors.

1.5-illustrating possible road-maps to follow in order to implement the Code and the adoption in different countries, regions or sectors can help.

2) In regards to the content:  

a) Section 2.1 includes very relevant aspects; however it can also include the perspective of responsibility from the private sector, consumers and active society, so that actions do not rely only on the institutional commitment. 

b) In my opinion, all aspects presented for 2.2 are relevant and required,. This section has a logical distribution according to the hierarchy of FLW management: prevention, reduction, repurposing and recycling, and incineration-landfilling. Some aspects seem to have a strong focus on regulation or legal backgrounds, which are indeed needed, but can also be addressed through economic and efficiency scopes to draw attention and positive perception from the private sector, farmers and agro-industries of all sizes.

2.2.1(c) can still include a nutritional-sensitive approach, besides the administrative and hygienic aspects.

2.2.4 Cross-cutting issues can be improved by specific tools and methods like Life Cycle Assessment (explicitly), and Lean Manufacturing as already adopted mechanisms by the industry, which may have not been directly applied to FLW but have enormous potential for impacts, hotspots and trade-off understanding, as well as improving process efficiency. Communication and awareness can have a particular section, as well as a review on quantification methods and index development, linking it to already existing guidelines and publications.

3) Examples:

a) The Costa Rican FLW Network would be happy to share some of our experiences (mostly good but our constraints as well), where we have been working in a voluntary platform including institutional, private, academic and civil actors. This has allowed to understand part of the needs, concerns and opinions from actors within the food system. We have come to the conclusion that data, knowledge, and research are very important to provide support to future actions, while commitment and awareness is the starting point to get sector “on board” whether they can act from policy making, commercial or productive activities, or more social-oriented approaches. Financial support for those in the productive side and the articulation of strategies has been a constant challenge, and the respect for each institutional role together with the will, commitment and innovative ways to act have been key in moving forward.  While we develop our activities we have become aware of national, and regional actions which can fit in this “good practices” category, such as:

b) Integrated Waste Management (a national plan and law was established in Costa Rica since 2010, aiming at setting the extended responsibility from the generator, as well as enabling the reduction, separation and valorization from the source before any other waste management considerations, which is consistent with the FLW hierarchy. We are currently evaluating from the academic perspective, the different impacts of FW valorization options to support future policies or projects).

c) Policies: National Plan for Decarbonization, Sustainable production and consumption National Policy, SAN-CELAC National Plan (the creation of both policies were conceived within a participatory approach. The second was adopted in the country -as well as most LAC countries after the CELAC committed to move forward into the achievement of the SDGs, including a specific target on FLW. Being covered by a national plan or policy, all institutions related to food production, processing, and distribution, environment, economy and health would have a link to the topic at some point).

d) Food redistribution and productive actions (we have met national and regional actors directly working on redistribution of food surplus with a strong emphasis on nutrition, food safety and education, one example is Plato Lleno. Others are tackling directly FLW in their operations through measurement, innovation, marketing, examples are taken from Organic Farm La Pavilla, Unilever, hotels and restaurants within the National Sustainable and Healthy Gastronomy Plan.)

e) Academic and sector engagement (different educational networks and chambers related to the touristic and gastronomic sectors have adopted activities in FLW, by presenting the topic in their seminars or national congresses, establishing educational or research FLW activities, embracing awards like Bandera Azul Ecológica, and considering a joint creation of guidelines to quantify and prevent FLW).

4) The dissemination of the code at all its stages (consultation, validation, implementation) to different sector would be a good starting point to make it useful, since different points of view will be included and the diversity of factors and solutions can be represented in the Code up to some level. This will allow the empowerment of the actors. A box of good practices and practical examples on each section, or a parallel publication can help the target audience to picture the execution of the CoC on each level.  

kindest regards,

Laura