The consultation forms part of government’s National Food Strategy and asks respondents for their views on several potential measures surrounding business’s responsibility to report the amount of food waste they produce.
There are compelling reasons for reducing food waste outlined in the publication which include, alongside the clear environmental wins, the fact that evidence suggests “£1 investment by businesses in action to reduce food waste yields a £14 return”.
The measures, which would only apply to England - range from ‘do nothing’, to enhancing existing voluntary arrangements, or fully regulating for compulsory reporting. Defra suggest in the document that large businesses – those with over 250 employees and a minimum annual turnover – should be obligated to report food waste data in line with WRAP’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, and also seek views on the details and frequency of any potential reporting.
Remit of the consultation
What has been decided already is which businesses would be in scope. These include a range of industries including food packers, manufacturers and hospitality venues but excludes companies such as delivery services and not-for-profits – thought to be better approached “through voluntary measures”.
Why the remit of the consultation only covers large businesses is largely because smaller companies are unlikely to have the resource or expertise to acquire the data. For those who will potentially have the report however, Defra have suggested they might need to acquire information such as whether surplus food has been redistributed, has been used for animal feed, or has been incinerated.
If any of the measures go ahead, they could be implemented as early as 2024 – at a similar time to reporting requirements under Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging.
The consultation closes on the 5 September and can be responded to here