Over the past year, Rethink Food Waste Through Economics and Data (ReFED) has worked with hundreds of decision-makers from across the public, private and nonprofit sectors to create a more efficient and equitable food system, noted Chris Cochran, ReFED executive director and a 2019 Waste360 40 Under 40 award recipient in the opening of the newly released “ReFED 2018 Annual Report.”
Those decision-makers come from various stakeholder groups: large food companies, tech startups, investors, foundations, nonprofits and policymakers. They have a wide spectrum of motivations, ranging from hunger relief, to job creation, to environmental impact, to financial returns.
However, these diverse stakeholders hold this in common: they see food waste as a solvable problem and a tremendous opportunity to create value, added Cochran.
“2018 marked the transition from awareness to action toward achieving the national goal to cut food waste in half by 2030,” said Cochran in the report. “I invite you to take a moment to reflect, celebrate what we’ve accomplished together this past year and look ahead to what’s needed to accelerate solutions to food waste in 2019 and beyond.”
The report outlines ReFED’s vision to eliminate food waste in order to increase food security, spur economic growth and protect the environment. The report’s main objectives focus on increasing ReFED’s impact in 2019 and beyond by focusing on opportunities to catalyze impact and collaborate with partners to help transform the food system.
According to the report, ReFED’s three main objectives are:
- Increase knowledge of how to reduce U.S. food waste. Refresh the Roadmap as a digital-first, continuously improved resource that continues to serve as the leading source of data-driven guidance on U.S. food waste and solutions. Host the 2019 U.S. Food Waste summit in collaboration with leading organizations.
- Increase investment in food waste solutions and increase innovator capacity to prevent, recover and recycle food waste. Increase funding for solutions by advising capital providers with a focus on catalytic philanthropic capital. Demonstrate a pathway to double U.S. food donations by hosting a food recovery accelerator with a focus on technology and nonprofit earned income models.
- Increase prevention, recovery and recycling by food businesses. Achieve widespread industry adoption of standardized date labeling. Scale packaging solutions that dramatically increase the shelf life of food.
The report also highlights ReFED’s progress and “big wins” for 2018. For instance, ReFED illustrates how it continues to influence decision-makers across the food system as the leading source of data-driven guidance on food waste solutions. ReFED also continues to work with businesses to reduce food waste by adopting prevention, recovery and recycling solutions. And the organization continues to create and support markets for food waste solutions by increasing investment from capital providers and helping innovations reach scale.