Online Community of Experts helps tackle food waste in Europe

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17th October 2017

A new digital network has been launched to encourage collaboration and bring together expertise from across Europe and beyond in a focussed response to the global issue of food waste. The Community of Experts (CoE) aims to help drive action at every level of the supply chain by empowering individuals, organisations and nations through the sharing of skills, knowledge and resources needed to act against food waste.

Developed by the EU REFRESH Project in cooperation with the European Commission’s EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste (FLW), the new Community of Experts will help users share and access information and ideas to develop and deliver their own initiatives, wherever they are based.

With 120 experts and 80 resources online, the collaboration between REFRESH and members of the EU Platform on FLW has already proven to be a powerful convening force, bringing together authorities from many disciplines, and from the whole value chain.

The Community of Experts was launched on World Food Day, October 16th.

Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety said, “On this important day dedicated to celebrating food, I am pleased to announce that we have a new ally in the battle against food waste: the REFRESH Community of Experts.

Fighting food waste requires concrete action and innovation by all key players in the food value chain. This battle has to be underpinned by knowledge and research and facilitated by an appropriate policy environment. It is great to see the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste join forces with REFRESH in establishing a new tool making expert advice, new resources and best practice in food waste prevention only a few clicks away!

Join the REFRESH Community today and help us all find solutions to prevent food waste and together ensure our speedy progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 target of halving food waste by 2030.”

As part of the resources which will be available on the Community of Experts, the Food Databanks team at the Quadram Institute Bioscience is building a comprehensive, searchable database of food processing by-products and other side-streams which have the potential to be utilised in animal nutrition and other valorisation pathways.  This will be of great interest to agri-food industry professionals as well as academic researchers in the area of valorisation.

Paul Finglas, Head of Food Databanks said “The Community of Experts is an exciting resource collating tools, experiences and other documentary evidence about food waste in a single place for the first time.  With the backing of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste, it really has the potential to drive behaviour change and further research.

Sharing expertise from across the EU

The strength of the Community of Experts lies in its instructive role to inspire action by sharing examples that have proven successful in reducing food loss and waste. These will allow users to adopt, adapt and replicate best practice actions to suit their own programmes, and their own societal, cultural and economic situations.

The Community of Experts has the support of REFRESH and its 26 research partners from 13 countries who bring a wealth of experience on the subject. The EU Platform on FLW brings together Member States, EU bodies, international organisations, and actors in the food value chain including consumer- and other non-governmental organisations, all committed to taking action to prevent food losses and waste.

Marcus Gover, CEO of WRAP, said “As a Champion 12.3 I am committed to driving action to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of halving food loss and waste by 2030. This is an ambitious target; it will take big acts by big players and millions of smaller actions from everyone, from farmers to you and I as consumers. But it is possible to have a future where food security is less of an issue, and where we can care for our planet and protect the people who populate it from hunger.

That is why I am proud to announce the launch of the REFRESH Community of Experts with Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis. This Community of Experts provides an online network in which to share important initiatives and best practice, and brings together food waste experts from across businesses, NGOs, Governments and the world in this important fight against food waste.”

Access to food waste solutions

Amassing key research and information in one place will also help connect people from different sectors and allow them to focus on proven solutions.

Toine Timmermans, REFRESH Coordinator said, “The ambition of REFRESH is to contribute to building a responsible and sustainable food system, by reducing food waste and improved valorisation of unavoidable side streams. We believe in bringing together a network of committed people, from a diversity of stakeholders, as a mechanism to deliver impact. We need thousands of scalable solutions to achieve this transition. The Community of Experts will make it possible to easily share inspiration, insights, evidence and best practices. To support the connection of challenges with solutions at all levels and accelerate progress towards SDG12.3.”

Get involved

To access and register to use the Community of Experts visit www.refreshcoe.eu. A user account gives the added benefit of being able to interact with the experts on the site, upload new tools and publications, and contribute to existing resources on the site.

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