We, the Nordic Council of Ministers for Fisheries, Aquaculture, Agriculture, Food and Forestry (MR-FJLS), are united in our goal to halve food waste in the Nordic Region by 2030. Today, we renew our commitment to Agenda 2030 and the Nordic Vision 2030. We emphasise that reducing food waste is a crucial sustainability issue for the climate and our environment and for ensuring sustainable, resilient and competitive food systems.
We are committed to working actively to reduce food waste. Realising this vision requires closer co-operation throughout the food system. The Nordic Council of Ministers will contribute by pursuing closer co-operation and creating new coalitions to enhance efforts in this area. The Nordic countries can learn from each other’s successes and setbacks to speed up the process at national, regional and global levels.
Today, we are launching several joint initiatives to help pick up the pace in our region. Food waste is an important issue that we will continue to address through Nordic co-operation and help each other solve. We also want to be a driving force at global level, both by learning from others and sharing our experiences.
Climate change and environmental issues are among the biggest challenges of our time. They threaten people’s incomes, food supply, food security and access to clean water and air. The changes affect us all, and it is the responsibility of all nations to reduce our negative impact on the climate and environment. Waste reduction is an important part of the solution.
Sustainable food systems are a prerequisite for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, in the Nordic Region, approximately 3.6 million tonnes of food are currently thrown out or destroyed every year. This is an enormous waste of resources and generates substantial emissions. The Nordic countries stand united in their aim of creating sustainable and competitive food systems. We must act together to reduce our emissions and make more effective use of our resources.
Food waste is not just a sustainability challenge. It is also an economic issue that affects competitiveness. It is an ethical issue, as large numbers of people do not have enough to eat. Finally, it is also a preparedness issue and has become increasingly important following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Nordic Food Waste Summit 2023 brought together experts, businesses and civil society from across the Nordic Region. The summit was the starting signal for deeper co-operation, and generated many important recommendations for Nordic co-operation. The Nordic Council of Ministers is now committed to following up on the conference and strengthening Nordic co-operation in order to step up the pace of change and take immediate action.
The Nordic Council of Ministers is committed to promoting SDG 12 – and, in particular, SDG 12.3 – at national, regional and global levels. This will be done through several initiatives, including:
- Highlighting food waste as an important issue for the environment and climate. Reducing waste to make more effective use of resources and minimise our negative impact on the Earth. The Nordic countries will take responsibility for this both on a national level and through regional co-operation. The Nordic Region will also work together to raise this important issue in global forums such as COP28, where the Nordic countries have several solutions to share but can also learn from others.
- Several Nordic countries have entered into voluntary agreements to reduce food waste, and several countries are holding discussions and conducting studies with a view to further legislation. The Nordic Council of Ministers will, therefore, facilitate dialogue to promote knowledge sharing and co-operation between responsible actors in the Nordic countries.
- The Nordic Council of Ministers will host an informal network of experts and officials from official bodies and ministries in the Nordic countries in order to increase mutual exchanges of information and draw up national plans for reducing food waste more efficiently and effectively.
- The Nordic Council of Ministers is currently producing a handbook of best practices for food waste strategies and initiatives. It will highlight positive outcomes in the Nordic countries that have the potential to inform the work of other nations.
The Nordic Council of Ministers for Fisheries, Aquaculture, Agriculture, Food and Forestry (MR-FJLS)
Svandis Svavarsdóttir, Minister of Food, Fisheries and Agriculture, Iceland
Høgni Hoydal, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Industry and Trade, Faroe Islands
Peter Kullgren, Minister for Rural Affairs, Sweden
Christian Wikström, Minister of Infrastructure and Environment, Åland
Sandra Borch, Minister of Agriculture and Food, Norway
Ole Henrik Krat Bjørkholt, State Secretary, Ministry of Health and Care Services, Norway
Kristina Sigurdsdatter Hansen, State Secretary, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Norway
Karl Tobiassen, Naalakkersuisoq (Minister) for Fisheries and Hunting, Greenland
Jesper Wulff Pedersen, Head of Department, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Denmark
Minna-Mari Kaila, Director General at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, on behalf of Sari Essayah, the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland