SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction

Milan Urban Food Policy Pact: Tackling Food Waste and Supporting Sustainable Food Systems

23 Oct 2015

With more than 100 cities joining, the Pact was recently signed into action

As urbanization extends across developing and transitional countries, so does the problem of Food Loss and Waste (FLW). The difficulty of solving this global problem is exacerbated by the often stark and varying levels of income, inequality and industrialization present across regions of the world.

In order to reduce the impact of FLW on natural resources, the environment and sustainable food production in urban centers, over 100 cities across the world were a part of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact highlighted at the Milan Expo on World Food Day October 16, 2015.

Recommended actions: food waste

Convene food system actors to assess and monitor food loss and waste reduction at all stages of the city region food supply chain and ensure holistic planning and design, transparency, accountability and policy integration.

Raise awareness of food loss and waste through targeted events and campaigns; identify focal points such as educational institutions, community markets, company shops and other solidarity or circular economy initiatives.

Collaborate with the private sector along with research, educational and community-based organisations to develop and review, as appropriate, municipal policies and regulations to prevent waste or safely recover food and packaging using a “food use-not-waste” hierarchy.

Save food by facilitating recovery and redistribution for human consumption of safe and nutritious foods, if applicable, that are at risk of being lost, discarded or wasted from production, manufacturing, retail, catering, wholesale and hospitality.

Source: Milan Food Policy Pact

Based on principles of food systems sustainability and social justice, the Pact aims to support policy coherence, coordinate international food policies and was developed with technical assistance from FAO.

Emphasizing the need for sustainable food systems which utilize the potential of urban areas to deliver on healthy, nutritious foods that are accessible to the urban poor, FAO Director-General Graziano da Silva noted that the increase in small-scale urban and peri-urban agriculture - which helps to diversify diets and improve nutrition among urban households - were positive examples of progress in this area.

Speaking directly to the issue of food waste, Mr. da Silva critiqued the wide-scale removal of edible fruits and vegetables from the food supply chain because of superficial issues of symmetry or aesthetics. "Among other reasons, urban customers often discard fruits and vegetables that don't look good, even when they are perfectly fresh," Mr. da Silva said.

In addition to reducing food waste, the agreement focuses on promoting sustainability in the food system, educating the public about healthy eating, and guaranteeing healthy food for all.  49 good practices have been compiled in the e-book “Milan Urban Food Policy Pact. Selected Good Practices from Cities”.  The Pact, Framework for Action and Good Practices document has also been developed with technical assistance from FAO.


Further information