Oct 21, 2019


On 4 September 2019 Dr Cooper presented at University of Pretoria during the 14th Continuing Nutrition Education (CNE) symposium. Her two topics were:

  1. Private sector role towards a sustainable and healthy food system
  2. Tackling food loss and waste across the food system


Title: Private Sector Role towards a Sustainable and Healthy Food System

What does a sustainable and healthy food system look like? What are the problems with our current food system? And what can we do about it? Global food production is the single largest driver of environmental degradation and transgression of planetary boundaries. Which, conversely, also makes it the best lever for transformational change. The EAT Lancet report, released in January 2019, for the first time established scientific targets for health and planetary boundaries for the food system. These insights have kicked off a new level of discussion within industry as to what our role can be, both individually and collectively. From how food is grown to how it is consumed or wasted, there are many areas where industry can act.

Title: Tackling food loss and waste across the food system

Food loss and waste is one of the largest global issues currently faced, bringing high cost in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, wasted water, food availability, farmer income, rural development and inequality. Food is wasted at all stages of the food system, to varying degrees and for many reasons. SDG 12.3 calls for halving of food loss and waste by 2030 and there are now methods to help measure and track these losses. One approach is to translate losses from tonnes into nutrients lost and environmental impact incurred, as a lens to aid focus for on the ground action. Recently, we reported on our total dairy losses between farm and factory for 30 countries, as dairy is both nutritious and environmentally impactful. Actions at all stages of food loss and waste are necessary, whether it is implementing known good practices or innovation. There is high potential in partnerships to tackle these at a regional level and room for new concepts such as impact valuation to change how food is currently valued.

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