Dr. Felicitas Schneider
Thünen Institute of Market Analysis, Bundesallee 63, 38116 Braunschweig, Germany
Interests: food loss and waste prevention; national strategies; cross-border cooperation; quantification methodology; best-practice; policy advice; farm to fork
Mr. Stefan Lange
Thünen Institute, Bundesallee 50, 38116 Braunschweig, Germany
Interests: food loss and waste prevention; transnational initiatives; policy advice; research policy; implementation of reduction & prevention measures; societal engagement
Dr. Thomas Schmidt
Thünen Institute of Rural Studies, Bundesallee 64, 38116 Braunschweig, Germany
Interests: food loss and waste prevention measures; monitoring and reporting; sustainability assessment
Only 10 years are left to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, which aims to halve food waste at retail and consumer levels per capita and to reduce food loss along the up-stream food supply chain by 2030. There is finally global awareness regarding food loss and waste, and numerous activities have recently been implemented to tackle the problem on different levels of the food supply chain. Nevertheless, the quantification of food loss and waste on national level is still a challenge and suffers from data gaps. Each quantification methodology bears pros and cons which have to be counterbalanced with national legal, societal, economic and structural frameworks already in place, as well as available financial resources versus expected contribution to scientific knowledge. Beside the quantification of FLW generation itself (e.g., to establish a first baseline), also the setup of reliable long-time national time series, the comparison of produced data with other countries and the holistic impact assessment of implemented prevention measures or the effectiveness of prevention policies challenge decision makers, researchers and practitioners on a global scale. The actual preparedness of countries to quantify food loss and waste and to monitor trends, as well as to draw conclusions from the corresponding data, is poor in general and large differences can be observed among countries. In addition, the literature is lacking in strategic discussions and comparisons of different approaches to tackle FLW on a global scale in line with existing agreements such as SDGs.
The aim of our Special Issue is to address FLW prevention frontrunners and latecomers to the same extent: Both those countries which already have FLW quantification systems in place and struggle to match them with late introduced requirements related to SDG 12.3 indicators provided by FAO and UNEP or other regional legal conditions (such as EU member states), and those countries which have not worked on FLW so far and have the chance to include the latest definitional and methodological requirements into their newly established national FLW strategies, policies and methodologies from the very beginning. Key questions include the following: How to overcome the need of shared inter-ministerial responsibilities related to FLW influencing factors? Where to set the focus on FLW prevention—edible/non-edible, avoidable/unavoidable or total food waste? Should we considering all food and drinks as well as all disposal paths and alternative utilization for animal feed, industrial use and non-food purposes? Should there be a “resource-efficiency”, a “reduce hunger” or a “legal waste definition” based focus? Should we be building up a collaborative approach to close data gaps and to foster cooperation among different stakeholders or implement legal obligations and incentives, or should there be both in parallel? Which data should be collected in addition to aggregated quantities in order to be able to use the same data also for other national and international reporting tasks such as sustainability, climate (e.g., nationally determined contributions), environmental impact or other SDGs? How to encourage stakeholders to participate and how to highlight the advantages for all of them and to lower possible negative impact? How to include expected changes in FLW generation due to climate change, rapid growing cities and change of consumption patterns into national strategies?
We explicitly invite researchers, policy advisors and policy makers from all countries/federal states/regions to contribute with their specific national strategies to overcome the above mentioned challenges as well as authors comparing different approaches highlighting the commons and differences in a suitable manner. Our special issue should provide the best practice, but also obstacles for the implementation of FLW monitoring in order to contribute to further focused discussions, cooperation and research. We encourage authors to submit high quality contributions sharing experiences on building up national/regional strategic networks, cooperation among stakeholders and nations, reliable data collection structures and reporting systems as well as assessment/evaluation of strategies, data and measures.
Dr. Felicitas Schneider
Mr. Stefan Lange
Dr. Thomas Schmidt
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