Representatives of large business and public organizations united in the Zero Waste League and discussed the problem of food waste at the first online conference in SKOLKOVO
Moscow, July 10, 2020 — On July 10, the first online conference of the League of Responsible Consumption “Zero Waste” was held with the support of the Consumer Market Development Center. The main goal of the conference was to unite caring representatives of large manufacturing companies and representatives of retail, NGOs and the restaurant business to solve the global problem of food waste. All League participants are determined not only to change consumer habits and the attitude of modern business towards environmentally sustainable development, but also to create a number of initiatives that will help solve the problem of food and organic waste in Russia.
Under the influence of СOVID-19, the sustainable development agenda only intensified. Amid the crisis, the importance of company participation in the social and environmental aspects of society has increased. At the same time, companies that invested and developed sustainable development strategies for many years before the epidemic turned out to be more prepared. Over the years, they have built a decision-making system in which the social responsibility of the business and risks in this area are one of the key factors.
One of the most visible trends in sustainable development today is responsible production and consumption. Today, the world's population is 7.5 billion people, of which more than 815 million do not eat up, with up to a third of all food produced annually in the world lost or thrown away - about 1.3 billion tons per year.
Recognizing this global problem, the Consumer Market Development Center of Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO, together with Danone Russia, conducted a study on food losses and organic waste in the Russian consumer market. Several important aspects were identified:
Firstly, many products are lost in the process of production and consumption. So, more than 60 million tons of organic and about 17 million tons of food waste are accumulated annually, and in the production of food we lose 30-40% of the total. Secondly, it cannot be reliably assumed exactly how much food we lose and how much waste we produce. The lack of a unified methodology, different approaches to the definition of the conceptual apparatus, the discrepancy in statistical data and the lack of transparency in many aspects do not contribute to clarifying the situation.
Thirdly, the problem of food losses and waste is of greater importance than it might seem at first glance. Reducing the volume of losses will allow: to reduce the negative impact on the environment, increase the level of physical and economic availability of food for the population, which will lead to an increase in the quality of life of people, ensure environmental and food safety at the state level, improve the social responsibility of doing business and build more trusting relationships by consumer.
Interesting results were shown by consumer research in Russia:
The share of responsible consumers in Russia is gradually growing, which is a good signal for the market. So, about 40% of respondents say they are ready to buy products and services of responsible companies. At the same time, the question of consumer confidence is very acute. According to a federal survey, more than 53% of Russian consumers believe that companies implement sustainable development practices solely for profit. Only 8% are sure that when buying a product or service from a responsible business, they affect positive changes. In this regard, the cornerstone for the spread of the sustainable development agenda in Russia is raising awareness and education about the sustainability of ordinary consumers. It is impossible to achieve this goal alone. That is why an important aspect is the development of cooperation and joint efforts of business representatives in the field of raising consumer awareness. However, practice shows that for the development of existing initiatives of the private and non-governmental sector, support at the state level is necessary.
The combined efforts of business, the state, NGOs, educational organizations and the consumers themselves allowed creating the League of Zero Waste, which includes Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO, Danone Russia, Bonduelle, Mars Wrigley, Magnit, X5 Retail Group, Coca-Cola Russia, Damate, Fragaria, as well as representatives of such volunteer and charitable organizations as the Rus Food Foundation and AIESEC. Everyone can become a part of this new ambitious project. This is an important signal for the entire market that the sustainable development agenda has already sprouted deeply in the business environment.
Each of us, from the simple consumer to the largest producers and the state, can affect the development of an environmentally sustainable society in Russia.
We are deeply convinced that only through joint efforts can we make a difference.
About League Zero Waste
League Zero Waste is a responsible business team that is aware of the problem of environmental pollution in the world and in Russia in particular. The goal of the League’s creation and activity is to carry out educational activities regarding the responsible consumption of food products and the disposal of industrial waste in Russia, regarding existing initiatives in the world, initiate new joint projects on sustainable and responsible development, educate consumers on simple principles of consumption and engage them in useful activities. The League includes Danone Russia, Bonduelle, Mars Wrigley, Magnit, X5 Retail Group, Coca-Cola Russia, Damate, Fragaria, Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO, Foodbank RUS, AIESEC.
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