Experts from Sodexo have advised the government on the European Union’s contribution to food waste prevention.

Head of waste management Claire Atkins Morris and environmental manager Paul Bracegirdle appeared before a House of Lords sub-committee in the Houses of Parliament yesterday (6 November) to give the Sodexo perspective on EU plans to introduce a target to reduce food waste by 50 per cent across member states by 2020.

Sodexo serves over one million meals a day across 2,300 sites in the UK and Ireland, and operates in 80 countries around the world. Claire and Paul were asked their opinion of the proposed EU target, definitions of food waste and how food waste is monitored.

Sodexo is a founding signatory of the UK Hospitality and Foodservice Agreement, which was launched by the Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP) in June 2012 on behalf of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The agreement aims to cut food and packaging waste by five per cent – or approximately 100 million meals – by 2015 and increase the rate of food and packaging waste recycled, sent to anaerobic digestion or composted to 70 per cent.

Sodexo also makes a commitment to reducing food waste through its global sustainability strategy the Better Tomorrow Plan.

Thus far, Sodexo is the only foodservice company to provide expert witnesses to the House of Lords Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment and Energy sub-committee, which is taking evidence from industry bodies and retail organisations before feeding back their findings to Brussels in March 2014.

A streamed video recording of the evidence session is available on the Parliament website.

Paul Bracegirdle, environmental manager at Sodexo, told the sub-committee: “We agree with cutting food waste as a worthwhile goal.  We also agree with a target because a target raises a profile and it accelerates progress. With targets though there needs to be clarity about how it’s developed. The parameters need to be clearly defined. The limitations need to be clearly identified. What we feel with the EU’s target of reducing food waste by 50 per cent is a little bit of that clarity isn’t there.”

Claire Atkins Morris, head of waste management at Sodexo, told the sub-committee: “We certainly need to standardise a methodology for foodservice accounting because otherwise it’s going to be very difficult to monitor, and if there is this push further down the road for binding targets then you are going to need this accountability for food waste volumes within Europe.”

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