OzHarvest and the United Nations call on Australia’s leaders to set a target to reduce food waste by 50 per cent by 2025

by OzComms

July 27, 2015


OzHarvest and the United Nations call on Australia’s leaders to set a target to reduce food waste by 50 per cent by 2025

by OzComms

For the third year, Australia’s leading food rescue organisation OzHarvest will be teaming up with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the UN’s Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction (SAVE FOOD) to lead the Think.Eat.Save campaign in Australia and raise awareness on global food loss and waste reduction, launching today on the eve of World Environment Day at Parliament House, Canberra.

This year, the campaign will launch at the nation’s capital and culminate in the national Think.Eat.Save event taking place across seven Australian cities (capital and regional) on July 27. Thousands of members of the public across capital cities will be served a free hot meal including surplus soup and rescued stews made from produce that would have otherwise ended up as landfill.

In a welcome display of cross-party support, Environment Minister the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Shadow Environment, Climate Change and Water Minister the Hon Mark Butler MP, Deputy Greens Leader Senator Larissa Waters, UNIC Director Christopher Woodthorpe and OzHarvest CEO and Founder Ronni Kahn will come together to launch the 2015 Think.Eat.Save campaign, bringing attention to the impact of global food waste and raising national debate on how food sustainability and food security can be addressed at a local level.

A delicious lunch made from rescued surplus food will be prepared and served to close to 100 Parliamentarians, Senators, Ministers and community leaders created by IHG chefs together with OzHarvest’s Chef for a Cause showing that good surplus food need not be wasted.

Members of the public will also be encouraged to make a personal pledge to reduce food waste through a digital Think.Eat.Save campaign launching on the same day. Pledges can be made online at or via social media by posting an image of an ‘X’ made from utensils or food items to represent stopping food waste and by using the hashtag #thinkeatsave.

July 27 will see Think.Eat.Save events across the country showcasing some of the nation’s top chefs, politicians and celebrity identities uniting to take a stance against food waste, which is currently costing Australians up to $10 billion each year. The public are invited to enjoy a free, delicious and hearty hot meal made from rescued produce, learn more about reducing waste and pledge their commitment to #thinkeatsave.

Founder and CEO of OzHarvest, Ronni Kahn, said the aim of Think.Eat.Save 2015 is to bring attention to the alarming amount of food wasted in Australia and around the world, where roughly one third of food produced for human consumption (approx. 1.3 billion tonnes) is wasted or lost[1] along the way.

“We are all responsible and accountable for the food produced, consumed and wasted on this planet. This year’s Think.Eat.Save campaign will bring awareness to issues of global food sustainability and security and encourage all Australians to take meaningful action to minimise food waste at a local level,” Kahn said.

“Today at Parliament House we ask our nation’s leaders to set a target to reduce food waste by 50 per cent in Australia by 2025. In doing so, Australia will join forward-thinking nations who have chosen to take similar action. This year, we call on Australians to take the Think.Eat.Save pledge and be part of this movement.”

Naysan Sahba, Director of Communications of UNEP said, “Research shows that the world produces more food than is actually needed; food that is lost along the supply chain or wasted is due to poor consumption decisions. Cutting the rate of food loss and waste in half by 2050 would close 20 per cent of the food gap, according to studies by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and UNEP. We need to take immediate action to save food, improve livelihoods and conserve the environment. Solutions and opportunities exist. But we need to seize the moment and create the needed momentum.

“To bring about the vision of a truly sustainable world, we need to transform the way we produce and consume our food, which effectively means the way we consume our natural resources. This is what we at UNEP and our partners like OzHarvest are striving to influence with the Think.Eat.Save campaign and we thank OzHarvest for continuing to champion the campaign in Australia and beyond.”


DATE & TIME: Thursday, 4 June from 12.00pm to 1.00pm

LOCATION: House of Representatives Alcove, Parliament House, Canberra Australia

DATE & TIME: Monday, 27 July from 11.30am – 2.30pm


Sydney event: Martin Place, Sydney

Adelaide event: The University of Adelaide Goodman Lawns, North Terrace

Brisbane event: St Stephen’s Cathedral, Brisbane

Canberra event: Garema Place, Canberra

Gold Coast event: The 4217, Surfers Paradise

Melbourne event: Federation Square, Melbourne

Newcastle event: University of Newcastle
Perth & Regional Areas: locations to be confirmed


For a full list of events and information, please visit

Follow us on Twitter @OzHarvest or Facebook or call 1800 108 006

Social media tags: #ozharvest #thinkeatsave

@UNEP #SaveFood #UNFAO #FoodWaste @FAOKnowledge @FAOnews @save_food_news


For more media information, images or interviews with Ronni Kahn, Founder and CEO of OzHarvest, please contact:

Louise Tran at OzHarvest on [email protected] | +61 2 9516 3877 | +61 466 620 744

Claudia Hackworth at Liquid Ideas on [email protected] | +61 2 9667 4211 | +61 417 012 512


Local food facts

·         Australians throw out $8-10 billion of food every year. As a nation we waste four million tonnes per annum of food which ends up in landfill.[2]

·         Australians throw out one out of every five shopping bags, which equates to every Australian household throwing out $1,036 worth of groceries each year. [3]

·         Australia produces enough food to feed approx. 60 million people, yet two million people still rely on food relief every year.[4]

·         Food relief agencies are not able to meet demand. Nearly 90% of agencies reported not having enough food to meet total demand. 6 in 10 agencies require at least 25% more food with almost 3 in 10 agencies requiring double the food. [5]


Global food loss and waste facts

·         Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted.[6]

·         Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes). [7]

·         Food loss and waste also amount to a major squandering of resources, including water, land, energy, labour and capital and needlessly produce greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to global warming and climate change. [8]

·         While the planet is struggling to provide us with enough resources to sustain its 7 billion people (growing to 9 billion by 2050), FAO estimates that a third of global food production is either wasted or lost. Food waste is an enormous drain on natural resources and a contributor to negative environmental impacts.

·         If food is wasted, it means that all the resources and inputs used in the production of all the food are also lost. For example, it takes about 1,000 litres of water to produce 1 litre of milk and about 16,000 litres goes into a cow’s food to make a hamburger. The resulting greenhouse gas emissions from the cows themselves, and throughout the food supply chain, all end up in vain when we waste food.

·         Given this enormous imbalance in lifestyles and the resultant devastating effects on natural resources and the environment, this year’s theme – Think.Eat.Save – Reduce Your Foodprint – encourages you to become more aware of the impacts of your food choices and empowers you to make informed decisions.
For more information visit



About FAO

Achieving food security for all is at the heart of FAO’s efforts – to make sure people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. FAO’s three main goals are: eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; elimination of poverty and the driving forward of economic and social progress for all; and, sustainable management and utilization of natural resources, including land, water, air, climate and genetic resources for the benefit of present and future generations. Visit:


About SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction In May 2011 FAO launched the Global Initiative on food loss and waste reduction (also called SAVE FOOD Initiative) as a corporate effort together with the private sector trade fair organizer Messe Düsseldorf GmbH (Germany). SAVE FOOD works in partnership with donors, bi- and multi-lateral agencies, financial institutions, public, private sector and civil society for: (i) Awareness raising; (ii) Collaboration and coordination of world-wide initiatives; (iii) Evidence-based policy, strategy and programme development, including a methodology for assessing food loss; (iv) Technical support to investment programmes and projects. UNEP joined SAVE FOOD by launching the Think.Eat.Save Campaign in January 2013. Visit:


In August 2013 the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific launched the SAVE FOOD Asia-Pacific Campaign in Bangkok, Thailand. Strategic action areas identified through consultations: awareness raising, the relevant role of the private sector and support mechanisms by governments in order to facilitate smallholder effective organization along with the role played by consumers. Visit:


About the FAO-UNEP Sustainable Food Systems Programme

The FAO/UNEP sustainable food systems program is catalysing partnerships among United Nations agencies, governments, private sector and civil society to promote activities that improve the sustainability of food consumption and production. Visit:


In June 2012 on the occasion of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the U.N. Secretary General launched the Zero Hunger Challenge[9] which includes addressing sustainability of all food systems and the aim of zero food loss and waste. The Committee on World Food Security (CFS)[10], the foremost intergovernmental body for food security and nutrition, at its thirty-ninth Session (October 2012), requested its High Level Panel of Experts on food security and nutrition (HLPE)[11] to prepare a report on Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems to inform the discussions in Plenary in October 2014. In May 2014 HLPE released the summary and recommendations of its report[12].

[1] FAO, 2011, Global food losses and food waste – Extent, causes and prevention, Rome. Food loss (FL): The decrease in quantity or quality of food. FL is mainly caused by the functioning of the food production and supply system or its institutional and legal framework. An important part of food loss is called food waste (FW) which refers to the removal from the supply chain of food which is fit for consumption by choice or has been left to spoil or expire as a result of negligence – predominantly but not exclusively the final consumer at household level. Source: FAO 2014
[2] Foodwise,
[3] Food Waste Avoidance Benchmark Study 2009
[4] DAFF, National Food Plan 2012
[5] End Hunger Report, Foodbank, 2012
[6] FAO, 2011, Global food losses and food waste – Extent, causes and prevention, Rome
[7] FAO, 2011, Global food losses and food waste – Extent, causes and prevention, Rome
[8] FAO, 2011, Global food losses and food waste – Extent, causes and prevention, Rome
[9] Visit: Zero Hunger Challenge
[10] Visit: Committee on World Food Security (CFS)
[11] Visit: High Level Panel of Experts on food security and nutrition (HLPE)
[12] Visit:


Canberra launch: Thursday, 4 June

National Think.Eat.Save event: Monday, 27 July