Multi-level governance of food waste: Comparing Norway, Denmark and Sweden
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Original versionSzulecka, J., Strøm-Andersen, N., Scordato, L. & Skrivervik, E. (2019). Multi-level governance of food waste: Comparing Norway, Denmark and Sweden. In A. Klitkou, A. M. Fevolden & M. Capasso (Eds.), From Waste to Value: Valorisation Pathways for Organic Waste Streams in Circular Bioeconomies (253-271). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
While numerous political initiatives and civil society efforts have, for years, focused on undernourishment and hunger in vulnerable regions, an astonishing one third of all edible food produced globally is wasted (FAO, 2011). Studies commissioned by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimate annual global food loss and waste by quantity for root crops, fruits and vegetables (40–50%), fish (35%), cereals (30%), oilseeds, and meat and dairy products (20%) (FAO, 2015, p. 2). Without a doubt, the alarming scale of food waste indicates a substantial market failure. Global food waste translated directly to economic terms has a value of US$1 trillion annually (FAO, 2015, p. 3). Another FAO study of total global costs of food waste estimated that apart from the direct economic loss, indirect environmental costs can be translated to some US$700 billion, and social costs of around US$900 billion per year (FAO, 2014). What is more, food waste is also a huge environmental challenge. Uneaten food is not only a loss within its own production chain, but squanders other valuable resources (land, water, energy and labour). It has a direct impact on the global climate – estimates suggest that global food loss and waste generate 4.4 Gt CO2eq annually, which is some 8% of total anthropogenic GHG emissions (FAO, 2015, p. 3). The European Commission’s analyses conclude that the food sector, together with housing and transport, has the largest environmental impacts in Europe, and that food waste has negative impacts due to the production burdens of uneaten food and waste treatment (Stenmarck, Hanssen, Silvennoinen, Katajajuuri & Werge, 2011). Lastly, but no less importantly, the scale of food waste is a significant moral issue. All the starving and malnourished people around the world could be fed using only a portion of the food we see being wasted.