The alarming food waste scale puts the issue among the most pressing global problems. It has been estimated that at least 30% of the food grown worldwide is lost before or wasted while reaching the consumer. Reducing the levels of food waste is among the most tangible Sustainable Development Goals with the Target 12.3 calling for halving per capita global food waste by 2030. While this goal is widely accepted, the tools require wider research and reflection.
The aim of the BREAD project is to analyze food waste reduction as an important issue for responsible research and innovation (RRI). The research looks at three levels:
- governance frameworks designed to reduce food waste,
- individual companies and food industry joint practices to target food waste,
- and finally at the business/consumer interface.
BREAD provides an in-depth analysis of the emergence and evolution of Norway?s food waste reduction governance. It further takes a comparative perspective to explore national innovative governance approaches such as those taken by Italy, France, UK and Poland.
The study of company-level innovation focuses on Norwegian companies through the industry association Matvett. It seeks to promote Responsible Research and Innovation and Corporate Social Responsibility practices focused on food waste reductions by conducting surveys, direct company interviews and specific company workshops.
In addition, the project looks at solutions involving citizens and the societal responsibility of the consumers where it looks at diverse issues as mobile technology innovations, redistribution work, COVID-19 effect on food banks, food blogs and others.
The project will generate both scientific and wider audience contributions and facilitate learning and dialogue among different actors in the food value chain.
Avoiding food waste – which is an economic, social, political and most importantly moral problem – is at the heart of food sector’s societal responsibility. While the goal of reducing and avoiding the wasting of food is broadly accepted, the questions how best to do it, with what tools, at what costs, and who is responsible for conducting and overseeing responsible innovation in the food sector – require reflection. This project seeks to gather the necessary knowledge about effective and efficient solutions that the Norwegian food sector can implement, adopting a broad governance perspective to the grand societal challenge of food waste. For this, we propose to work across scales and look at responsible innovation on the level of policies (providing the context in which RRI occurs), at the level of companies, and finally, at the business/consumer interface.
The total amount of food waste in Norway for the entire value chain was 68.7 kg per inhabitant in 2015, worth 20 billion NOK and equalling 978 000 tonnes of CO2e. What can be done to accelerate the industry’s and national actions targeting food waste?
The BREAD project is interested in diagnosing the obstacles for responsible innovation in the food sector and identifying innovation potential that can be unlocked. Our study will be conducted at 3 levels: of policies, firms and on the meeting point of individual consumers and food industry actors. This is reflected in the organization of the project, with 3 Work Packages covering these levels and the fourth aimed at a learning process at Integration. They ask 4 questions:
1. How can European regulatory experiences enhance responsible innovation in Norway’s food sector?
2. How can best CSR practices & RRI experiences be scaled-up?
3. How can consumer perceptions of (co)responsibility in the food sector inform companies responsible innovation?
4. How to integrate all RRI dimensions to unlock multidirectional learning and food waste reduction innovation?