The Food Chain Sustainability Special Interest Group

Reducing and managing waste in the UK: implementing the Waste Prevention Programme and moving towards a 'zero waste' economy, Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum, 21 January 2014, Central London.

Timed to take place shortly after the publication of the Government's Waste Prevention Programme for England at the end of this year, this seminar will be a timely opportunity to assess progress and next steps in the UK's efforts to move towards a 'zero waste economy'.

Planned sessions include key stakeholder perspectives on the overall content of the Waste Prevention Programme and the priorities for implementation, as well as how best to positively address the associated behavioural and practical barriers for businesses and consumers to maximise savings.

Further sessions will look more widely at waste policy in the UK - including an assessment of the Government's efforts to increase the use of anaerobic digestion and introduce more voluntary responsibility deals to ensure that businesses are taking a more sustainable approach to waste management and that a proportion of the goods are recycled. Delegates will also discuss industry concerns, in the wake of further reductions to Defra's budget as part of the latest Spending Review, for delivering waste reduction policies in the UK.

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The Groceries Code Adjudicator and next steps for the food supply chain, Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum, 3 February 2014, Central London.

This seminar will provide a timely opportunity to discuss the next steps for enforcing the Groceries Supply Code of Practice and the future of the food supply chain. Sessions will bring together key policymakers from Parliament and Whitehall with regulators and stakeholders with an interest in this area, including large and small retailers, suppliers, representatives from the agricultural industry, restaurants and caterers, local authorities, charities, commentators and consumer groups. 

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No Opportunity Wasted: food waste solutions along the supply chain and in the home, 6 February 2014, Central London.

This conference, the second organised by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in London, in association with the European Commission and the Sustainable Restaurant Association on the subject of food waste, will feature a range of experts sharing their thoughts, experiences and examples of good practice with delegates invited from across the public, private, NGO and academic sectors. 
The challenge to feed a growing global population, estimated to rise to 9.5 billion by 2075, is not going to go away, and the pressure on natural resources will only increase. This conference will provide an opportunity for those present not to go over old ground, but to look at the steps necessary to make the changes to the way in which we think about food as a resource and use it efficiently to secure all of our futures.

Next steps for biofuels in the UK: development, delivery and innovation, Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum, 13 February 2014, Central London.

This seminar will focus on progress, challenges and next steps for the UK's biofuels sector.

In the context of the EU's 2020 Directive for 10% of all energy used in transport to be derived from renewable sources, sessions will assess the continued viability of the UK's delivery strategy, particularly in relation to the potential impact of EU ILUC (indirect land use change) proposals - with the European Parliament's Environment Committee having voted to limit the supply of first generation biofuels.

Delegates will also discuss current EU work geared at issuing new Directives for 2030 - including discussion on new EU renewable energy targets for this period, if and how biofuels should be included and what a new UK strategy to replace the RTFO (Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation) might look like.

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Working Together to Improve Global Food Security Conference, Inside Government, 27 February 2014, Central London.

This Working Together to Improve Global Food Security forum will examine the issue of food security in both a UK and global context, and discuss strategies for developing more environmental and sustainable food systems. Hearing from leading policy experts and case studies, this forum will provide delegates with a unique opportunity to share knowledge and discuss ideas for increasing food security across the world. 

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Food security: global priorities and the UK's role, Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum, 3 April 2014, Central London.

Following the recent release of reports by the OECD and the International Development Committee on global food security, and with the European Commission due to publish a Communication on Sustainability of the Food System in early 2014, this seminar will provide a timely opportunity to discuss the key priorities for achieving sustainable food production both internationally and in the UK. 

Planned sessions bring out the latest thinking on the challenges for increasing global food production in an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable way. Delegates will discuss key issues in this area including: agricultural efficiency, food price, food waste, barriers to trade, changes in diet, biodiversity loss and access to water. Sessions will bring together key policymakers from Parliament and Whitehall with representatives of the farming and food and drink industry, including manufacturers, retailers, and suppliers, international development professionals, local government officials, academia, charities and consumer groups.

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Challenges and opportunities for growth in the UK food and drink industry - skills, exports and competitiveness, Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum, 29 April 2014, Central London.

This seminar will be a timely opportunity to discuss Government's ongoing focus on making the UK food and drink sector more competitive, with particular attention to increasing exports, encouraging more young people to work in the industry and reducing barriers to growth. It will bring together key policymakers from Parliament and Whitehall with representatives of the food and drink industry, including manufacturers, retailers, and suppliers, agriculture, regulators, local government, academia, charities and consumer groups.

Delegates will also assess the success of the The Food and Drink International Action Plan in maximising trade opportunities for the food and drink sector and how it might be developed in the future, and what more Government can help open up markets, remove trade barriers and develop opportunities in emerging economies going forward. 

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Total Food 2014: Science and technology for the economic and sustainable exploitation of agri-food wastes and co-products, 11-13 November 2014, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, UK.

Total Food 2014 is the fourth in a series of international conferences which focus on the sustainable exploitation of agri-food co-products and related biomass, thereby helping to minimise waste.

Under the auspices of the Royal Society of Chemistry Food Group, this three day event will provide an open forum to highlight recent developments and to facilitate knowledge transfer between representatives of the agri-food industries, scientific research community, legal experts on food-related legislation and waste management, and consumer organisations. Themes to be explored will range from the adding of value to co-products through to the recovery of energy from waste streams.

The 2014 conference will be run by the Institute of Food Research (IFR) in collaboration with the COST Action Network TD1203 Food waste valorisation for sustainable chemicals, materials and fuels (EUBis), and will comprise plenary lectures, short talks, poster sessions, and focussed workshops. Proceedings will be published.

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Aims- What is the Food Chain Sustainability SIG?

Our ambition is to provide a one-stop-shop for information on sustainability in the food chain. Key areas of information available on the Food Chain Sustainability SIG are:

  • Initiatives on waste minimisation
  • Research on co-product exploitation
  • Technologies for treatment of food waste
  • Case studies
  • Sources of funding
  • Links to organisations working in the area
  • Legislation related to this area
  • "News & Events Page "- providing information on topical issues and events

We aim to be the first port of call for all issues surrounding food waste and to provide useful and helpful information to all those visiting the site.

Background - Why do we need a Sustainable Food Chain?

Recent work by WRAP, highlighted by the media, has brought to the public's attention, the issue and extent of domestic food waste. However, reducing domestic food waste is just one small section of the challenge of moving towards a sustainable food chain. Farming, the food industry, food retailers and consumers all contribute to the food chains impact in terms of:

  • energy use
  • water use
  • emission of greenhouse gases
  • waste generation

A rapidly growing world population all aspiring to a western-style diet; higher energy prices; the urgent need for substantial reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions and the anticipated effects of climate change on agriculture all represent an enormous challenge. A truly sustainable food chain must both provide a robust mechanism to meet the world's need for food and avoid adverse environmental impacts.

Links to some of the numerous reports which review these issues are included below:

Background Reports:

Chilled Food Manufacturing Waste Minimisation Study - DEFRA

Ensuring UK Food Security in a Changing World - DEFRA

Environmental Impacts of Food Production and Consumption - DEFRA

Food Pocket Book - DEFRA

Food Industry Sustainability Strategy - DEFRA

Food Distribution - Food Ethics Council

"Cooking up a Storm" - (Food Climate Research Report)

Cabinet Office - "Food Matters - Towards a Strategy for the 21st Century"

Sustainable Production and Consumption - Technology Strategy UK report

Sustainable and secure food systems for Melbourne- report April 2008 Australia

Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Waste in Australia - Victoria Health Promotion Foundation March 2009

"Time for action — towards sustainable consumption and production in Europe" -
Summary report of the conference held on 27–29 September 2007, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Low Greenhouse Gas Agriculture: Mitigation and Adaptation Potential of Sustainable Farming Systems - FAO report, Rev. 2 April 2009

Benefits of Organic Agriculture as a Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Strategy for Developing Countries - Report by Adrian Muller, Environment for Development (EfD) initiative, April 2009

If you would like to find out more about any of the organisations involved with the Food Chain Sustainability Special Interest Group, please click on the appropriate logo below:

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