One-third of all food produced in the world is wasted. In the Nordic countries, more than 3.6 million tonnes of food is thrown away or destroyed every year. Reducing food waste is a sustainability issue for the climate and environment, but it is also a crucial step towards resilient food systems.
The Nordic Council of Ministers for Fisheries, Aquaculture, Agriculture, Food and Forestry (MR-FJLS) has agreed that the Nordic Council of Ministers should step up co-operation and seek new alliances to achieve the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs).
“We all have a role to play. From those small actions in our everyday lives where we trust our taste buds rather than only relying upon the “best before” label. The Nordics are now taking joint steps to ensure increased action,” says Karen Ellemann, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Cut food waste for a green Nordic Region
The summer meeting of MR-FJLS in Iceland issued a declaration both to renew its commitment to Agenda 2030 and the Nordic Vision 2030 and to intensify its efforts to combat food waste.
“We are committed to working actively to reduce food waste. We are calling for closer co-operation throughout the food system to make this happen,” the declaration states.
The declaration also commits the ministers to work toward SDG 12 and, in particular, SDG 12.3 at national, regional and global levels. This will include engaging in more dialogue about voluntary agreements and legislation, networking between civil servants and experts in official bodies and ministries, a handbook of best practices and raising the issue in global arenas.
Nordic summit kick-started the year
The Nordic Food Waste Summit 2023 was the starting signal for the decision to pick up the pace and resulted in a series of important recommendations for Nordic co-operation. The packed summit in April brought together ministers, experts, activists, businesses and civil society from across the Nordic Region.
The conference was attended by both H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and H.R.H. Princess Marie of Denmark, and their presence helped to raise awareness even further. In her opening speech, Princess Marie stressed that food waste is not just about climate change:
“Fighting food waste is not just a climate issue. It is also an economic and ethical issue. Reducing food waste is about global equity.”
In line with the ministers’ wish for the Nordic Region to act together in global forums, food waste will be one of the items on the agenda for “Food Systems Day” at the Nordic Pavilion during COP28 in December, giving the Nordic Region a unique opportunity to drive global co-operation to achieve the SDGs.
Her Royal Highness Princess Marie of Denmark, Peter Kullgren,the Swedish Minister for Rural Affairs and Jacob Jensen, the Danish Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, at the Nordic Food Waste Summit 2023 in Stockholm.