This topic assesses the environmental impact attributed to companies from food waste, including the social impacts.
The impact assessment should include the absolute amount of food wasted, what kind of environmental impacts it has on the planet, how long the impact lasts and how detrimental it is.
As a secondary point, the analysis should discuss the social impacts of food waste on both hunger and the economy, how long these effects will last, and how detrimental they are.
To this aim, the analysis should include not only the amount of food waste produced but also where along the chain most of the food is wasted, what kinds of food are wasted, and whether any measures are in place to minimise the impact.
In your analysis, you should assess both the preparation process as well as throwing out food at the end of life.
The analysis needs to discuss the absolute amount of food wasted, and only then can you address remediation methods if applicable, such as efforts to reduce the total amount of food waste or to redistribute food where needed, but be sure to critically evaluate how successful these initiatives are, whether they are genuinely minimizing impact or serving more as greenwashing.
The analysis should discuss the entire food production process the company is responsible for, not just the waste of the final product.
You can include mitigation efforts where it is relevant.
In the introduction, you should include:
What impacts does food waste have on the environment and on society
How much food is wasted globally
If applicable, you should talk about the company's industry and how much food waste is generated by this industry.
If relevant, the different types of food waste and/or when food is wasted (such as during preparation/storage, etc.) contribute to different environmental effects.
Read more on how to build a strong introduction in this article.
Food waste is generated during the preparation process and by unconsumed food. Food loss and waste represent a loss of resources used in food production, which include land, water, energy, and agricultural chemicals. Additionally, food waste can generate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during landfill decomposition. Food loss and waste also highly contribute to food insecurity and hunger.
The core of the note should discuss how the company contributes to the global issue of food loss. How much waste does the company contribute to this issue, and how is this waste managed?
In the core analysis, you should address:
The absolute amount of food wasted by the company (scale)
How much food waste is going to landfills or being incinerated, etc.?
What environmental impacts food waste has on the planet
How long-lasting and detrimental these impacts are (depth and persistence)
In what stages of the value change is the food being wasted
Put the total amount of food waste into context, such as how many people would have been fed and how much this represents in economic losses.
Similarly, the total amount of food waste sent to landfill should be contextualised by looking into how many GHG emissions it likely causes or similar analysis of environmental effects.
Mitigation efforts, such as waste reduction initiatives, converting food waste to energy, and/or treating it in a less harmful way.
Caution: this topic is not about general waste production and management - it should only address food waste specifically, touching on the environmental impacts as the focus, how many people could have been fed, and the economic burden as a secondary point.
To describe the scale of the impact, take into account:
1/ The breadth of the impact
Is the impact local, national, or global?
How many people are concerned? Thousands? Millions? Billions?
2/ The depth of the impact
Is the life of people concerned deeply affected, or does the issue just marginally impact them?
Are the changes brought by the issue profoundly changing society or the planet?
3/ The persistence of the impact
In your analysis, make sure you add value to your readers and go beyond the company's CSR report by not merely reporting data from the company's report but going the extra mile of providing additional metrics, studies, and sources to make your analysis robust and the impact value and scale are clear.