Working With Germany’s Retail Sector to Reduce Food Waste

The CSCP continues supporting actors along the food value chain to reduce food waste. In Autumn 2019 we started the moderation and facilitation of the “National Dialogue Forum for Reduction of Food Waste in Wholesale and Retail Industry” – referred to as handelsforumRLV – , thereby supporting the Federal Government’s National Strategy for Reducing Food Waste.

On 6 November 2019 the Federal Agriculture Minister, Julia Klöckner, inaugurated the “National Dialog Forum for the Reduction of Food Waste” in Berlin. This included awarding the CSCP and its project partner, the Thünen Institute with the implementation of the sectoral Dialogue Forum for Wholesale and Retail. CSCP Project Managers Nora Brüggemann and Patrik Eisenhauer received the award and will be managing and moderating the forum over the next three years.

Nora Brüggemann thanked the Federal Minister on the day and stated: “ We – from the CSCP and the Thünen Institute – are looking forward to the upcoming task, and particularly to the cooperation with retailers and wholesalers to reduce food waste in Germany. We gladly build upon our findings and preliminary work from the European REFRESH project. An exciting time lies ahead of us: By designing the process moderation and by actively involving forum participants to enable co-creation, we are optimistic about contributing to the implementation of the National Strategy.”

The National Strategy for Reducing Food Waste was published in February 2019 by the Federal Government to jointly implement effective measures to achieve the necessary significant reduction of food waste along the entire food supply chain. This is a task for society as a whole. To implement the National Strategy, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) is setting up the National Dialogue, to which different sectoral fora – including the one on wholesale and retail – contribute.

The importance of wholesale and retail to reduce food waste

Wholesale and retail are accorded special importance with regard to the reduction of food waste: on the one hand, companies can continue to exploit existing optimisation potential in their own companies and markets. On the other hand, as a direct “bridge to the consumer” and as an interface to food production, retailers can work in both directions towards improvements and promote the appreciation and a more responsible handling of food in society.

The German retail sector supplies food to 82 million people in the country via its nationwide branch network of more than 37,000 shops, as well as via its newer online channels. Retailers want to live up to their responsibility and actively utilise existing potential for improvement in their own companies and markets.

Our aim is to make the process fair, transparent and participative. That is why the CSCP invites representatives of the German wholesale and retail sector to work together in the newly created Dialogue Forum for Wholesale and Retail.

In collaboration with our project partner Thünen Institut, we will present and discuss positive examples from Germany and abroad in order to jointly implement innovative demonstration projects. We want to address conflicting goals and discuss concrete possibilities of how to reduce food waste in and with trade. In addition, we want to shed light on data collection processes and jointly develop and adopt a voluntary sectoral agreement with concrete reduction targets.

For further questions, please contact Nora Brüggemann.