Posts Tagged ‘sustainable food’

Nektarina Non Profit celebrates its 7th foundation anniversary!

Written by Aina on . Posted in General Information, News, News & Updates

We have prepared this blog entry because today is a very special day for our organization Nektarina Non Profit as we celebrate our 7th birthday.

Every 12th of August for the past 7 years has been a very meaningful day to our organization. Each year we realize how fortunate we have been to keep working in what we believe and love, in spite of any of the difficulties we have encountered along our way.

We feel so proud of all the hard work our organization has taken since its foundation back in 2009 that we want to share with you in this article just a little about what we have been doing ever since.

Nektarina Non Profit was founded in Croatia 7 years ago with one broad idea in mind: highlighting the issues that affect us all globally as a part of the big Earth community. Highlighting them by raising awareness and inspiring action, but most importantly by educating and sharing knowledge about them.

Ever since, the projects we have implemented and collaborated with, have lead us to work mainly on sustainability in its three dimensions: social, environmental, and economic. Specially we have focused to target the younger generations. Not only because they are one of the most affected groups by our unsustainable ways, but because of their potential to shift our world towards a sustainable future.

One of the most relevant examples of our work were the “European Citizens’ Initiatives Youth Forums” organized during 2011 and 2012 across different countries in Central, Eastern and South East Europe, Russia, the Mediterranean and Central Asia. The forums gathered teenagers, students and young professionals to learn, share ideas, knowledge, and inspire action on climate change, sustainable consumption, carbon footprint, renewable energy, and other related topics. The forums were delivered in partnership with the international organizations of the Earth Day Network, 10:10, and the Global Campaign for Climate Action – TckTckTck.

In 2011 we published our first cookbook, “Low Carbon and Delicious”, which shares over 50 recipes accompanied by beautiful pictures from 17 countries around the Mediterranean, providing a simple insight of what “low carbon food” means and how anyone can make a positive impact on the environment from their own kitchen and diet. Don’t miss checking out this colorful, inspiring and simple-to-use cookbook with a low carbon twist here.

Also at the end of that busy year of 2011, we were able to put into practice one of the fundamental pillars of our organization with the Education for Sustainability project. The project emerged from our belief that education is the most important way to bring a fundamental shift in how we think and act towards one another and our planet. Therefore we designed the project with one broad aim: putting sustainability in the curricula of every school.

The implementation of the project has not always been easy but we are proud to say that although the challenges we have faced, Education for Sustainability as of today, is the most important project of our organization. We will continue to put all our efforts to keep it that way and to work towards our goal in the years to come.

If you want to find more about our organization or the Education for Sustainability project, you can find additional information in our websites. We also invite you to get in touch with us if you have any questions or ideas you would like to share with us. Nektarina non Profit and Education for Sustainability are also present in Facebook and Twitter. Stay in touch and up-to-date with our latest work and news following our social networks.

Twitter @nektarina and @edu4sustain

Facebook @nektarinanonprofit  and @Edu4Sustainability

Finally we would like to thank all the people and organizations that have supported or collaborated with us during all these years. We hope to keep connecting with new and past organizations, volunteers, colleagues, students, teachers, etc. But most of all, we hope we keep inspiring one another in our work towards a sustainable world.

Note: Nektarina Non Profit, now based in the UK, is the initiator and leading organization of the Education for Sustainability project.

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What is LOHAS?

Written by Anam Gill on . Posted in Anam's blog: Global issues, E-Magazine, General Information, Green Economy, News, News & Updates, Publications, Take Action

 While researching on various aspects of sustainable development I recently came across an acronym which people involved in the green movement have been tossing around for a while. I have been involved in the green movement but as a relative newcomer this acronym came as a surprise to me. So to avoid further suspense this acronym was none other than “LOHAS”. Coming up with new movements and trends it is impossible not to have new phrases and acronyms in our daily lexicon. Becoming a hottest trend within companies and consumers across the globe LOHAS stands for Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability.

Once I googled LOHAS I soon discovered that this term was coined in late 1990s.  LOHAS refers to segment in the market that is focused on environment, healthy lifestyle, sustainable living and social justice.  It incorporates the businesses and consumers alike. There are a number of industries, corporations, products and activities that are designed to be eco-friendly, sustainable and healthier for the planet as well as people. It can be seen as a growing movement where the LOHAS consumer keeps in mind the values and belief systems before making their purchase. A common example of this can be the emerging trend of organic food though its buying power is limited in the hands of a few. Moreover the LOHAS movement still needs to further assimilate in the markets not limited to few places and people.

Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability is built on the work of a sociologist Paul Ray who undertook extensive research in the mid 1990s in United States. He found out that 25 % of the US population could relate to the concepts of sustainability, health and social justice and how they desired to live their lives.  The 25% of US population was termed as “Cultural Creatives” by Paul Ray describing them as leaders of cultural change. LOHAS defined the emergence of a global trend based on conscious choice in a wide range of industries. However it was difficult to define this cultural phenomenon from the market perspective. Encompassing things like organic foods, eco-tourism, alternative medicine as well as energy-efficient appliances and solar panels. LOHAS describes the marketplace for such products and services and the consumers who buy these.

It should be noted that the known LOHAS market is limited to few developed countries and it still needs to reach the developing world. The trend however has seeped into many places where a level of consciousness has pushed certain type of consumers to spend money on products that are produced in a sustainable way. Hence LOHAS besides being a market segment limited to few countries is a growing awareness where people worry about the environment and want their lifestyles to be eco-friendly. This has given rise to corporate social responsibility too, which didn’t exist few years ago, making corporations responsible for environmental protection during manufacturing and also looking after the workers’ rights.

Even today the big businesses fail at times for example the collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh that led to a loss of thousands of lives is a case in point. There are many other incidents both reported and unreported around the world that should be kept in mind when looking at the progress of Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability. This does not mean that we should undermine the little efforts but we have a long way to go.

When it comes to organic food which is just one aspect of LOHAS it should be noted that the organic products cater to a certain segment of society, those who can buy it. There must be an extra effort behind the production of organic food without using pesticides but it also limits the buyers. It would be great if healthier options are available to the consumers from various segments of the society depending on their income. The approach of catering the elite class will not save the world as the majority has the power to bring change not a small percentage of population. There is a need for policies that keep in mind the values and belief systems of LOHAS targeting a greater number of population, only then will it be fruitful.

certified-organic01Photo Source Google

It is not a secret that organic food helps protect the environment, minimize soil degradation and optimizes the productivity and biological diversity resulting in healthier lifestyles. But what about the higher cost of organic products? For some people eating organic food and buying organic products is not feasible as it costs more. Here in Pakistan there are barely few shops selling organic products and products like wheat and oil can be three times the price when labeled “organic”. To advocate the importance of buying organic products it is also important that they are sold at reasonable prices so that more people can make better choices.  In some developed countries there might be more options to choose from keeping in mind the healthy choices and budget.

While ushering in spring, we can also think about growing our own food. There might be certain constraints but it is not impossible. While living in Germany I met a very interesting girl almost my age, in her early 20s, when I asked her whether she has a Facebook account so that I can add her when I leave. She said no, that not only came as a surprise to me rather it came as a shock. How can anyone not have an account on Facebook? But later I realized that she was very much living in the real world. Baking her own whole-wheat bread in the morning, it’s appetizing aroma spreading across the building to making her organic tea from the herbs picked from her kitchen garden. She had made a door bell herself too instead of an electric one. And yes I can’t forget borrowing her bicycle which was her favorite mode of transportation. Unlike me preferring a car to travel around and not caring where the food products are coming from, whether it is eco friendly or not. I was inspired to see her lifestyle which she developed out of love for mother nature nothing else, she didn’t know about LOHAS. Making sensible and conscientious choices is the responsibility of everyone.

Awareness has led to a lot of consumers paying attention to claims such as organic, green, eco friendly, environmentally safe and sustainably made. However it is easy to make a claim and difficult to prove it which leads to a lot of people misled about various environmental attributes associated with the products. The marketers have the responsibility to use correct terminology in packaging and promotion for the consumers to better understand it.

Just like trade commission operational in some countries to protect the interests of consumers, green guides should also be provided to consumers providing a list of definitions of terms like ozone friendly, biodegradable, carbon offsets , recycled and other related terms. The various certifications and seals are important only if they give you enough information and are backed by solid standards.

It boils down to the question, are you adopting LOHAS? Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability might be a swift growing consumer trend but are you really living LOHAS?

The big multinationals are claiming to go LOHAS such as The Body Shop or Cadbury. The Body Shop, founded in 1976 pioneered in volunteering where The Body Shop employees had to volunteer for a month about a cause they chose like fair trade or recycling etc.   In many ways they paved a way for “conscious consumerism” movement. The Body Shop realizing that human rights and environmental responsibility are interlinked, to build a sustainable supply chain stepped up it’s efforts, focusing on promoting sustainable alternatives that can improve living and protect the forests too. Moreover the fair trade logo seen on some chocolate bars like Cadbury dairy milk’s bar means that the farmers from developing countries are looked after when it comes to them being fairly paid. Nike is also making organic sportswear and claims to become a responsible global citizen. Nike also adopted some good practices over a period of time when it realized the unfair work practices. Similarly Ford is producing hybrid SUVs. The big corporations everywhere should become part of the LOHAS market as it will not only let them join the green population trying to make a difference but can also help them boost their sales.

According to a research institute based in US known as Natural Marketing Institute nearly third of the US population adopts LOHAS values based on social concerns and environmental safety. Considering the world is not just comprised of US, Japan, Taiwan or Western Europe that are the recognized LOHAS markets. This global trend needs to have a greater outreach where businesses and governments are taking necessary steps to adopt LOHAS.

On an individual level creating awareness is a step forward. Learning about LOHAS, it’s concerns, priorities and values can also help people to make better choices. It does not only centre on buying green products rather by taking small steps like saving energy, reducing carbon footprint, recycling and saving water also makes you part of the Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability community.

Starting from personal development by seeking out new experiences and learning one can start taking interest in mind-body-spirit connections by taking yoga and meditation classes to exercising regularly. It is about seeing the connection between our own health and health of the environment.  The small steps taken on an individual level can contribute to LOHAS. If we look at the mode of transport, depending on the vehicle an annual commute will release two to three tons of greenhouse gases. Using public transport or bicycle depending on the distance is a better choice. Bicycles have a tiny manufacture and carbon footprint. Again keeping in mind the deplorable infrastructure in some places and long distances people do end up using cars. But if you have an option to choose from, go for it. Simplifying one’s lifestyle is related to sustainable living focusing on what you need rather than what you want.

Growing your own food if you have enough space is also a positive step. Nothing tastes better than the vegetables from your own kitchen garden. Growing your own food gives a productive physical activity letting you distress yourself get fresh air and sunlight. It also enables to clear one’s head. When you grow your own food you don’t worry about the contamination and in the end seeing the seeds blossom under your care gives a sense of pride. It helps reduce wastage of food which we can’t afford in this era where many are without food and shelter. Even if you don’t have a backyard or a kitchen garden you can still grow your own food. By taking pleasure in this hobby while contributing positively to the environment is fulfilling and satisfying. At home one can save energy by switching off extra lights; we should admit that we do sometimes neglect that. Similarly recycling at home can be done by utilizing the empty bottles and jars for storage etc. We can also save water and avoid the wastage of water at homes. By taking these small yet valuable steps on an individual level enable us to contribute positively.

Embracing eco awareness and sustainable lifestyle has a positive impact on the people, communities and environment. Sustainable living besides seeking to optimize the use of natural resources also includes reuse. It is a system of living where people become producers rather than consumers only. It does take time and patience to practice a sustainable lifestyle. Passionate about saving the planet we can make it a reality. The only outcome of sustainable living is health.

Developing a sustainable living does require practice and time. With the passage of time these useful habits of sustainable lifestyle becomes a routine. I still sometimes use canned spinach from the grocery store when the season is not right for the homegrown spinach. I still eat fruits that I can’t grow myself. But whenever I switch off extra lights or give extra care when using water or recycle at home I take few steps closer to sustainable living. For my grandparents these practices were practically second nature. With the technological advances our generation first needs to unlearn and then learn to live sustainably. It will be a journey of learning things that are no longer common knowledge and have been nearly forgotten. It is true that we are learning with the passage of time. We have a long way to go but with awareness we can surely make it.

 imagesPhoto Source Google

Time for LOHAS Quiz- How LOHAS Are You?

Take this quiz from the researchers at the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) to find out whether you’re living LOHAS. Answer the questions with rarely, sometimes or usually, then add your points to see which segment you’re in. If you’re response is rarely, give yourself 1 point; for sometimes, give yourself 2 points; for usually, score 3 points.

  1. I care about maintaining excellent physical health.
  2. I care about protecting the environment.
  3. I care about sustainable agriculture practices.
  4. I care about using renewable energy sources.
  5. I tell family and friends about the benefits of purchasing environmentally friendly products.
  6. I care about women’s issues.
  7. I care about social consciousness.
  8. I prefer to buy products from companies whose values are like mine.
  9. I like choosing environmentally friendly products and services.
  10. I’m willing to pay 20 percent more for environmentally friendly products.

26-30 Points: You’re a LOHAS consumer. You care deeply about the environment and society, and you act on those behaviors. You likely buy a lot of organic foods, drive a fuel-efficient car and live in an eco-friendly home. People look to you for advice and information on the environment and society.

20-25 Points: You’re a NOMADIC. You care about some of these issues but not all of them all of the time. You take action in some parts of your life but have not totally adopted a LOHAS lifestyle.

15-19 Points: You’re a CENTRIST. You are slightly more conservative than your LOHAS and NOMADIC peers. While some of these behaviors and ideas appeal to you, they are not top priorities in your life.

10-14 Points: You’re an INDIFFERENT. You are committed to other immediate concerns in your life and don’t think a great deal about the quality of the environment and society.

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Weekly news #1 / Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication

Written by admin on . Posted in Green Economy, News, Publications, Weekly news

Posted by Yula Pannadopoulos

This January we are talking about green economy in the context of sustainable development (and poverty eradiction), and today I would like to share some resources that you might finds useful.

In the past two weeks we shared two interesting posts:

United Nations Research Institute for Social Development has a thorough and comprehensive set of resources on Social dimensions of green economy and sustainable development.   UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) has a user friendly green economy page, and I found particularly useful their webinar series which you can view online. UNEP’s TUNZA page shares information on what children and youth around the world are doing for the environment and sustainability. UNEP page on sustainable consumption provides information and content on different ways of consumption and how they can be brought to a more sustainable, environmentaly and socialy more responsible level. Although Rio+20 conference on sustainable development is over, their page remains a great source of content on green economy and sustainable development. In the weeks to come I’ll be sharing more links and information on resources and content on different aspects of sustainable development – economic, social, educational, environmental. We will try to share knowledge, practices and experiences from different sources, but also from our own project, as we are moving forward.  
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Think, Eat, Save: UNEP, FAO and Partners Launch Global Campaign to Change Culture of Food Waste

Written by admin on . Posted in General Information, Green Economy, News, Publications, Take Action

(shared post)

In developed regions around 300 million tonnes of food is wasted annually because producers, retailers and consumers discard food that is still fit for consumption     Geneva, 22 January 2013 – Simple actions by consumers and food retailers can dramatically cut the 1.3 billion tonnes of food lost or wasted each year and help shape a sustainable future, according to a new global campaign to cut food waste launched today by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and partners.

The Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint campaign is in support of the SAVE FOOD Initiative to reduce food loss and waste along the entire chain of food production and consumption – run by the FAO and trade fair organizer Messe Düsseldorf – and the UN Secretary General’s Zero Hunger Challenge. The new campaign specifically targets food wasted by consumers, retailers and the hospitality industry.

The campaign harnesses the expertise of organizations such as WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), Feeding the 5,000 and other partners, including national governments, who have considerable experience targeting and changing wasteful practices. Think.Eat.Save. aims to accelerate action and provide a global vision and information-sharing portal (www.thinkeatsave.org) for the many and diverse initiatives currently underway around the world. Worldwide, about one-third of all food produced, worth around US$1 trillion, gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems, according to data released by FAO. Food loss occurs mostly at the production stages – harvesting, processing and distribution – while food waste typically takes place at the retailer and consumer end of the food-supply chain. “In a world of seven billion people, set to grow to nine billion by 2050, wasting food makes no sense – economically, environmentally and ethically,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. “Aside from the cost implications, all the land, water, fertilizers and labour needed to grow that food is wasted – not to mention the generation of greenhouse gas emissions produced by food decomposing on landfill and the transport of food that is ultimately thrown away,” he added. “To bring about the vision of a truly sustainable world, we need a transformation in the way we produce and consume our natural resources.” “Together, we can reverse this unacceptable trend and improve lives. In industrialized regions, almost half of the total food squandered, around 300 million tonnes annually, occurs because producers, retailers and consumers discard food that is still fit for consumption,” said José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General. “This is more than the total net food production of Sub-Saharan Africa, and would be sufficient to feed the estimated 870 million people hungry in the world.” “If we can help food producers to reduce losses through better harvesting, processing, storage, transport and marketing methods, and combine this with profound and lasting changes in the way people consume food, then we can have a healthier and hunger-free world,” Graziano da Silva added. The global food system has profound implications for the environment, and producing more food than is consumed only exacerbates the pressures, some of which follow:  
    • More than 20 per cent of all cultivated land, 30 per cent of forests and 10 per cent of grasslands are undergoing degradation;
 
    • Globally 9 per cent of the freshwater resources are withdrawn, 70 per cent of this by irrigated agriculture;
 
    • Agriculture and land use changes like deforestation contribute to more than 30 per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions;
 
    • Globally, the agri-food system accounts for nearly 30 per cent of end-user available energy;
 
  • Overfishing and poor management contribute to declining numbers of fish, some 30 per cent of marine fish stocks are now considered overexploited.
Part of the trigger for the campaign was the outcome of the Rio+20 Summit in June 2012, in which Heads of State and governments gave the go-ahead for a 10-Year Framework of Programmes for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Patterns. Developing an SCP programme for the food sector must be a vital element of this framework, given the need to sustain the world’s food production base, reduce associated environmental impacts, and feed a growing human population.   “There can be no other area that is perhaps so emblematic of the opportunities for a far more resource-efficient and sustainable world – and there is no other issue that can unite North and South and consumers and producers everywhere in common cause,” said Mr. Steiner. According to FAO (http://www.fao.org/save-food/en/), roughly 95 per cent of food loss and waste in developing countries are unintentional losses at early stages of the food supply chain due to financial, managerial and technical limitations in harvesting techniques; storage and cooling facilities in difficult climatic conditions; infrastructure; packaging and marketing systems. However, in the developed world the end of the chain is far more significant. At the food manufacturing and retail level in the developed world, large quantities of food are wasted due to inefficient practices, quality standards that over-emphasize appearance, confusion over date labels and consumers being quick to throw away edible food due to over-buying, inappropriate storage and preparing meals that are too large. Per-capita waste by consumers is between 95 and 115 kg a year in Europe and North America/Oceania, while consumers in sub-Saharan Africa, south and south-eastern Asia each throw away only 6 to 11 kg a year. According to WRAP, the average UK family could save £680 per year (US$1,090) and the UK hospitality sector could save £724 million (US$1.2 billion) per year by tackling food waste. “In the UK we have shown how tackling food waste through engaging with consumers and establishing collective agreement with retailers and brands, reduces environmental pressures and aids economic growth,” said Dr. Liz Goodwin, CEO of WRAP. “With a rising population, even more pressure is going to be put on resources, and we are excited to be a partner in UNEP and FAO’s Think. Eat. Save. campaign, which is a great start to tackling food waste on a global scale.” In a similar vein to other parts of the world, the European Union is looking into the issue of food waste, and the European Commission has lent its weight to the new initiative. “In the EU we have set ourselves a target to halve edible food waste by 2020 and to virtually eliminate landfilling by 2020; the Commission is planning to present ideas next year on the sustainability of the food system which will have a strong focus on food waste,” said Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment. “Less food waste would lead to more-efficient land use, better water resource management, more sustainable use of phosphorus, and it would have positive repercussions on climate change. Our work fits perfectly with the launch of this initiative,” he added. For the campaign to reach its huge potential, everyone has to be involved – families, supermarkets, hotel chains, schools, sports and social clubs, company CEOs, city Mayors, national and world leaders. The campaign website, www.thinkeatsave.org, provides simple tips to consumers and retailers, will allow users to make food waste pledges, and provides a platform for those running campaigns to exchange ideas and create a truly global culture of sustainable consumption of food. For example, the website provides the following advice, which will help consumers, retailers and the hospitality industry reduce waste – thus reducing their environmental impact and saving money. Consumers  
  • Shop Smart: Plan meals, use shopping lists, avoid impulse buys and don’t succumb to marketing tricks that lead you to buy more food than you need.
  • Buy Funny Fruit: Many fruits and vegetables are thrown out because their size, shape, or colour are deemed not “right”. Buying these perfectly good fruit, at the farmer’s market or elsewhere, utilizes food that might otherwise go to waste.
  • Understand Expiry Dates: “Best-before” dates are generally manufacturer suggestions for peak quality. Most foods can be safely consumed well after these dates. The important date is “use by” – eat food by that date or check if you can freeze it.
  • Zero Down Your Fridge: Websites such as WRAP’s www.lovefoodhatewaste.com can help consumers get creative with recipes to use up anything that might go bad soon.
  • Other actions include: freezing food; following storage guidance to keep food at its best, requesting smaller portions at restaurants; eating leftovers – whether home-cooked, from restaurants or takeaway; composting food; and donating spare food to local food banks, soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters.
Retailers and the Hospitality Industry  
  • Retailers can carry out waste audits and product loss analysis for high-waste areas, work with their suppliers to reduce waste, offer discounts for near-expiration items, redesign product displays with less excess, standardize labelling and increase food donations, among other actions.
  • Restaurants, pubs and hotels can limit menu choices and introduce flexible portioning, carry out waste audits and create staff engagement programmes, among many other measures.
  • Supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, companies, cities and countries will be able to use the website to pledge to measure the food they waste and put in place targets to reduce it.
Messages of Support Guillaume GAROT, French Minister for Agri-Food “We in France have set the objective of halving food waste by 2025. Currently we are mobilizing the whole of the food chain, from producers and industry, through distribution, and up to consumers for this essential action. This is why I welcome this UNEP and FAO initiative, which will create an international mobilization that will prove more effective by virtue of everybody working together. The fight against food waste on a global scale is a key priority of civilization and an imperative path we must take if we want to take up the food challenge.” Wales’s Environment and Sustainable Development Minister, John Griffiths “It is great news that WRAP is working with the UN Environment Programme to develop a plan to reduce global food waste. Each year around 400,000 tonnes of food and drink are wasted by household in Wales alone. On a global scale, the staggering amount of food we waste is wholly unacceptable and a huge drain on our precious resources. That is why tackling the problem of food waste is a top priority for the Welsh Government and every local council in Wales runs a weekly food waste collection service that covers nine out of ten households.” Scotland’s Environment Secretary, Richard Lochhead “The vast amount of good food which is wasted globally shames us all. It’s also a shocking waste of all the energy and water used in food production, which leads to higher prices and hurts national economies. As Scotland’s Food Minister, I am passionate about both maximising the amount of high quality food we produce and reducing the amount of food we waste. With people going hungry around the world we each have a personal responsibility not to waste this valuable resource. Scotland was among the first countries to take concerted action on food waste through our support for WRAP’s Love Food Hate Waste scheme and its work with retailers.  More recently the Scottish Government has promoted a major national food waste campaign. A collective approach is what’s needed, so it’s great to see the United Nations and its agencies becoming major allies in the battle to end food waste.” Mr.  Helenio Waddington, Roteiros de Charme Hotel Association, President “We are excited to be working with the Think.Eat.Save campaign to preserve and protect our environment and create a more environmentally friendly hotel for our guests. Our effort will also contribute to raising awareness among the Brazilian tourist community.” Luke Upchurch, Head of Communications and External Affairs, Consumers International “This is a great initiative to get consumers and businesses to think more about the food we throw away. Nobody likes to waste food, so we need to do all we can to make it easier to buy, consume, and throw away only what we absolutely need to.” Andrew Kuyk, Director of Sustainability, UK Food and Drink Federation “Tackling food waste is a key priority, both to make what we have go further, especially in the developing world, and to help conserve the vital natural resources on which future production depends. Wasting food also wastes money as well as everything else used to make it. We know from our own work with WRAP in the UK food industry that they will be able to add real value to UNEP’s initiative to devise a global reduction programme, building on lessons learned from actions already taken. The Food and Drink Federation, as the voice of the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, is pleased to offer its support to this new and exciting partnership.” Paul Crewe, Sainsbury’s Head of Sustainability “We’re adding our support to this UNEP campaign because wasting less food is a thoroughly good thing. At Sainsbury’s, we take the issue of food waste very seriously and work to minimize it as much as possible. None of our food waste goes to landfill and we were one of the first major UK retailers to achieve this in 2011. We donate any surplus food to charities and use any waste food for animal feed or anaerobic digestion to generate renewable energy. We also actively help our customers to make their food go further and waste less by providing meal planners and tips on how to store and re-use leftovers, and through our current ‘Make Your Roast Go Further’ campaign that helps them to create two additional family meals from every Sunday roasting joint. We’ve also encouraged customers to embrace ‘ugly’ British fruit and vegetables and to freeze food up to a product’s use by date, which could prevent up to 400,000 tonnes of food being wasted each year.” FoodDrinkEurope ”FoodDrinkEurope’s Environmental Sustainability Vision Towards 2030 identifies that working on the reduction of food wastage is a key priority for Europe’s food and drink industry. Resources and the environmental impacts linked to the production of food, such as raw materials, water and fuels, are also wasted when food is wasted. Preventing waste is key to improving the sustainability of consumption habits and the production of food and drink products. We are committed to working with policymakers, food chain partners and other stakeholders such as the UNEP and the FAO to move towards an integrated approach to raise awareness and optimize the use of raw materials by maximizing the use of by- products for food production. While natural resources get increasingly scarce worldwide, achieving industry’s overall aim of avoiding food waste along the food chain is essential for the future sustainability.” Compass Group “We support the aims of the UN Environment Programme’s new global campaign and last year, Compass Group UK & Ireland signed up to WRAP’s Hospitality and Foodservice Agreement to achieve certain food and associated waste reduction targets in the UK. In addition, we continue to work with our suppliers, clients and customers around the world to reduce waste through implementing initiatives such as ‘Trim Trax’, our programme to measure and reduce food wastage.” NOTES TO EDITORS Food Loss refers to food that gets spilled, spoilt or otherwise lost, or incurs reduction of quality and value, before it reaches its final product stage. Food loss typically takes place at production, postharvest, processing and distribution stages in the food supply chain. Food Waste refers to food that completes the food supply chain up to a final product, of good quality and fit for consumption, but still doesn’t get consumed because it is discarded, whether or not after it is left to spoil. Food waste typically, but not exclusively, takes place at retail and consumption stages in the food supply chain. Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint Visit www.thinkeatsave.org for more information on the campaign. SAVE FOOD Initiative SAVE FOOD the Global Initiative on Food Losses and Food Waste Reduction is a partnership between companies and organizations worldwide to reduce the estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food that is lost or wasted every year. For more information and facts and figures on food waste and food loss, visit: http://www.fao.org/save-food/en/ WRAP Wrap is a non-profit organization funded by all four UK governments and the EU, and aims to help people recycle more and waste less. For more information, visit: http://www.wrap.org.uk/ Feeding the 5,000 Feeding the 5,000 organizes events where meals made from food that would otherwise have been thrown out are distributed free. For more information, visit: http://www.feeding5k.org/ Video Interview with Robert van Otterdijk, SAVE FOOD: http://www.fao.org/news/audio-video/detail-video/en/?uid=9575 Food loss reduction in The Gambia: http://www.fao.org/news/audio-video/detail-video/en/?uid=7529 Photo Gallery ‘One Third’ by Klaus Pilcher: One Third uses images to describes the connection between individual wastage of food and globalized food production: http://www.kpic.at/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=45&Itemid=88 Related Reports, Facts and Figures UNEP discussion paper on the role of global food consumption patterns in sustainable food systems: http://www.unglobalcompact.org/docs/news_events/upcoming/RioCSF/partner_deliverables/Role_of_Global_Food_Consumption_Patterns.pdf The work of UNEP’s Resource Efficiency Programme on Agri-Food: http://www.unep.org/resourceefficiency/Home/Business/SectoralActivities/AgricultureFood/tabid/78943/Default.aspx  
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Rounding up a busy week

Written by admin on . Posted in General Information, News

By Yula Pannadopoulos

What a week! So much stuff going on at once, it’s just amazing, and intoxicating, and such an inspiration!

We moved forward with the project, and we are now en route to initiating some serious dialogue. We will get to all of the countries eventually, but we decided to start with The Baltic Countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), and with Slovenia, Slovakia and Czech Repulic.  We didn’t just randomly pick those countries – these are the countries that have been the most responsive during the implementation of our previous projects, and we thought they might do the same this time around too :) (the truth is, we already got some very positive response from some of them, so “yay!”)

Our introductory post will give you some more insight on these countries, as will our project’s Wiki.

If you’d like to join the project, either as a supporter, or as a volunteer or a partner organization, please check out our Join us tab, and do join in – we’d love to have you on board!

This week we spoke about volunteering,  and about the importance of working together, not just as a project team, but as communities, as people. It is then when we are able to make a difference, and it is then when we realize that changing things for the better IS possible, if we work together towards the same goal.

On October 15th we joined Blog Action Day, and we blogged about our perspective on the “power of We“.

Not to be overlooked – this week the international community marked the World Food Day, and that alone is a good enough reason for us to go back to our posts “How are we going to feed the world?” and “Sense and Sensibility“.

“Whether we talk about education, energy, agriculture or any other sector, they all have in common one thing that can define their main direction and purpose: a dedicated set of policies and regulations. They are the drivers of change and their effects can impact the society and even the world as a whole in multiple ways.”, says, among other things, our blog post on policies.

Policies, whether educational or environmental, will be discussed further during the implementation of this project, whether it’s us commenting, blogging or providing information, or whether we are discussing them with a governmental official, a local expert, or a colleague from another organization.  Some information about different policies can be found even now, in the project’s Wiki.

Speaking of Wiki – it got a bit of a facial :) , so hopefully looks more clear and “browseable” now, and we will keep improving it as we go along.

And then, there are plans for next week, and the weeks to come, but we’ll let you in on them soon enough. In the meantime, enjoy your Friday, and have a great weekend!

Photo credits Nektarina Non Profit, taken at Zagreb, Croatia

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Sense and Sensibility

Written by admin on . Posted in General Information, News, Take Action

By Yula Pannadopoulos

Last year I attended two conferences, somewhat related to sustainable development, and both, when talking about the issue of hunger and feeding the world, toyed with the idea that the food issue would be solved with reducing the population.  Shocking as it may be, the idea did have a sense of reason, but in a purely mathematical (or statistical?) way.  “If you have 10 apples, and 12 kids” sort of a thing.

Still, I couldn’t help noticing that, even with all the math logic, and statistical coldness, that “theory” did not really make any sense to me. It seemed as if they did not count in all those tons of wasted food, all the oversized portions, and all the insensitivity so many people show on a daily basis when it comes to sharing with others.

Just imagine the change if we would all act sensibly, cook only how much we need, buy local produce, serve average sized portions, and share the surplus, instead of throwing away the food.

Just imagine the change if we’d all think, just a little bit, about how many resources is needed to produce (or deliver) the food we are eating this minute. Does it need to be shipped from across the world, or is it produced in our vicinity? What’s its water footprint? Is it produced in an ethical way (with regards to both animals and people). How often do we think about these things when we go food shopping? Not often enough, is the answer we hear more often than we should.

So what exactly can each of us do to help with the “food issue”?

– Don’t trow away food is the first logical answer that comes to anyone’s mind. There are numerous recipe ideas of delicious meals combined from leftovers – don’t be afraid to try them out, or, even better, to invent your own

– Check your portions (serving size). Eating should provide us with energy to work and be active (in another words – we should feel comfortable and not stuffed after having a meal; if we feel stuffed, it means we ate more than our body actually requires)

– Having leftovers you don’t know what to do with? Why not share them with the shelter, or a homeless person, or with someone you know is struggling to make ends meet

– Skip one meal a week, and donate the money you’d spend on that meal to help fight hunger in Africa or similar regions

These are just some of the ideas how every person – big or small, young or old, can help solve the food crisis. True – a global consensus between countries would be the most effective solution, but never underestimate the power of a joint action of many simple, average individuals. More often than not we are the ones inducing a change, we just don’t give ourselves enough credit.

Let us be determined to make this change. Let us help solve the food crisis.

Photo credits Nektarina Non Profit, taken at Nova Scotia

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Ethical Eating

Written by admin on . Posted in General Information, Take Action

Ethical eating is not about absolutes; it’s about doing your best. Guest post by Syd Baumel A little over a year ago, two years into my transition from mild-mannered vegetarian to in-your-face vegan, I came to the conclusion that most people don’t want to buy what I have to sell. I was failing in my would-be mission as an advocate for the nearly 50 billion farm animals slaughtered every year around the world. The goal posts of vegetarianism, much less vegansim, were set far too high for most people – and some questioned the goal itself. Might there be a better way, I wondered, for my ethical vegetarian colleagues and I to reach the resistant masses? It has always been anguishingly obvious to people like us that most nonvegetarians do love animals; yet . . . they still eat them. I found myself meditating on this challenge at the lake that summer, and quickly a vision of another strategy took shape. Compromise. Tell people any change is better than no change at all. Get people and organizations of influence – movie stars, political and spiritual leaders, scientists, intellectuals – to speak up with one voice for ethical eating. Reframe the message from all-or-nothing veganism to anything-is-better-than-nothingism and the-more-the-betterism. As I was later to write in a letter to The New York Times Magazine, the opposite kind of all-or-nothing reasoning by the magazine’s food columnist – that “if you cannot be merciful to all edible animals, you needn’t be merciful to any” – “is a recipe for moral indifference. Every act of mercy is a sufficient act of kindness unto itself.”  In other words, I wanted myself, my activist colleagues, and others not yet even involved in this inclusive mass movement to send people an alternative message about food: you don’t have to be ethical all the time (or according to other people’s standards) to be ethical. You don’t have to be the Dalai Lama to be a good guy – indeed, even the Dalai Lama eats meat every other day.* You’re probably not a vegetarian either. Only about 4% of Canadians are. But I bet you’re concerned about issues related to your dietary choices – issues like protecting the environment, supporting farmers and other people in the food production chain, being kind to animals, and eliminating world hunger. Perhaps you’re buying organic food more often because it’s better for the environment, for farmers and public health, and typically for animals too.  Perhaps you’re eating more humane-certified, free range, or grazed/pastured animal products because you believe any animal that puts food on your table ought to be treated with at least a little compassion. Perhaps you oppose genetically modified crops because you believe they pose a threat to biodiversity – and therefore to the world’s food security – or because you worry that GMOs threaten public health. Perhaps you drink fair trade coffee or tea or eat fair trade chocolate so as not to support the exploitation of impoverished farmers in the developing world – even child slaves, in the case of chocolate Perhaps you give generously to aid agencies or donate to food banks so that others can eat too. If you do any of these things, you’re part of a burgeoning, spontaneous, and so far nameless movement (I would call it the ethical eating movement, a subset of ethical consumerism) of people who strive to eat not just what’s good for number one, but what’s good for everyone. You are extending your sphere of moral interest to include the very food chain that sustains you. You are co-authoring a new chapter in the moral awakening of humanity. Ethical eating, like ethical living, is not about absolutes. It’s about doing the best you’re willing and able to do – and nurturing a will to keep doing better. ————————————————————————————————————————————————— Syd Baumel’s full editorial was originally published in The Aquarian in 2003. A year later, he created eatkind.net. photo credits www.hellomila.com