Government to reconsider mandatory reporting for food waste

06 Dec 2023

Planning and Environment, Cornerstone Climate, Public Law and Judicial Review

As #COP28 puts food systems transformation on the global climate agenda, there has also been a notable legal development in domestic food policy. The Government has withdrawn its food waste reporting policy, following the issue of a judicial review claim by Feedback – and has committed to reconsider the introduction of mandatory reporting. Ruchi Parekh acted for Feedback, instructed by Leigh Day.

The claim focused on the enormous financial and environmental burden of food waste. Food waste in the UK was valued at £19 billion/year in 2018, and accounted for up to 10% of total global man-made GHG emissions during 2010-2016. The decision’s failure to consider the proven financial and GHG emissions savings arising from food waste reporting was therefore at the heart of the successful challenge.

Meanwhile, in the UAE, 134 nations (including the UK) have signed the COP28 UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate Action. The Declaration is targeted towards:

✅Adopting adaptation measures to reduce the vulnerability of farmers, fisherfolk and other food producers to climate change impacts.

✅Promoting food security by increasing efforts to support vulnerable groups and local communities.

✅Supporting inclusive and decent work in agriculture and food systems.

✅Strengthening integrated water management in agriculture and food systems.

✅Containing and reducing the harmful impacts associated with agriculture and food systems, including by shifting from higher GHG-emitting practices to more sustainable approaches.

While some groups have welcomed the heightened focus on the role of the food and agriculture sector in meeting international climate targets, others have criticised the absence of measurable targets or tangible steps to address sustainable diets.

More to come on December 10, which is the Food, Agriculture and Water Day at COP28.