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Agenda item

Councillor Collis: The Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration

The UN Environment Programme Food Waste Index Report (2021) highlighted the extent and environmental impacts of food waste, noting that if food waste were a country it would be the third biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions. This makes it a major factor in ‘the three planetary crises of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste’ (p.4). It is also behind UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, which aims to halve food waste and reduce food loss by 2030.

 

With the next major climate negotiations, COP26, due to begin in Glasgow later this year and with food waste still nowhere on the agenda, we have – collectively – a unique opportunity to put pressure on governments to address this issue. Without tackling food waste at international, national, regional and local levels, we won’t be able to meet key climate goals.

 

In the UK, initiatives such as WRAP’s Courtauld Commitment 2025, which is a voluntary commitment between participating retailers, farmers and growers, food manufacturers and hospitality businesses, across ten years to meet three targets;

-  a 20% per person reduction in food and drink waste associated with production and consumption of food and drink in the UK, post farm gate

-  a reduction in impact associated with water use and water stress in the supply chain

-  a 20% per person reduction in the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with production and consumption of food and drink in the UK

 

While initiatives such as the Courtauld Commitment aim to make positive changes, we also urgently need coordinated action at national government level.

 

Launched in December 2020, the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration brings together ‘all types and sizes of local authorities – from small and medium sized towns to mega-cities, districts and regions, territories, federal states and provinces – to speak with a unified voice in renewing their commitments to develop sustainable food policies, promote mechanisms for joined-up action and call on national governments to put food and farming at the heart of the global response to the climate emergency.’. It is only by speaking with this ‘unified voice’ that we can put pressure on global decision makers to act now, before it is too late. 

 

Council therefore recognises;

-  the connection between environmental and social justice

-  the environmental devastation caused by the current food system, that results in one-third of all food that is produced globally being wasted before it even reaches the table.

-  that we have already taken a number of measures locally to address the issue of food waste including the adoption of a sustainable food policy (2018), our ongoing work with Cambridge Sustainable Food including the city’s recent award of Silver Sustainable Food Place status, including a specific objective on sustainable food in our new climate change strategy and trialling food waste collections in parts of the city.

-  that, as a district council, our capacity to ‘to assess GHG emissions reduction targets from food systems’ and directly achieve those reductions (Glasgow Declaration points 14 and 15) is inevitably limited.

-  the importance and potential of a working with other authorities, including the Combined Authority and County Council, to address food waste and sustainability at a local level.

 

Council resolves to;

-  reaffirm our commitment to developing and implementing our own sustainable food policy, and to explore potential ways in which we can work with neighbouring authorities

-  add the voices of the people of Cambridge to these calls for action by writing to Alok Sharma MP, president of the COP26 summit, calling for food waste and food systems to be put on the agenda.

-  make Cambridge the first district council in the UK to sign up to the principles in the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration and put pressure on national government to

o  address the environmental impact of food waste

o  recognise the fragility of our food systems, that has been highlighted under COVID-19 and shown, for example, by the demand on the city’s food hubs.

o  implement a food systems approach to accelerate climate action (and also to promote biodiversity and access to healthy and sustainable diets for all, among other co-benefits).

 

Minutes:

Councillor Collis proposed and Councillor H.Davies seconded the following motion:

 

The UN Environment Programme Food Waste Index Report (2021) highlighted the extent and environmental impacts of food waste, noting that if food waste were a country it would be the third biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions. This makes it a major factor in ‘the three planetary crises of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste’ (p.4). It is also behind UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, which aims to halve food waste and reduce food loss by 2030.

 

With the next major climate negotiations, COP26, due to begin in Glasgow later this year and with food waste still nowhere on the agenda, we have – collectively – a unique opportunity to put pressure on governments to address this issue. Without tackling food waste at international, national, regional and local levels, we won’t be able to meet key climate goals.

 

In the UK, initiatives such as WRAP’s Courtauld Commitment 2025, which is a voluntary commitment between participating retailers, farmers and growers, food manufacturers and hospitality businesses, across ten years to meet three targets;

-  a 20% per person reduction in food and drink waste associated with production and consumption of food and drink in the UK, post farm gate

-  a reduction in impact associated with water use and water stress in the supply chain

-  a 20% per person reduction in the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with production and consumption of food and drink in the UK

 

While initiatives such as the Courtauld Commitment aim to make positive changes, we also urgently need coordinated action at national government level.

 

Launched in December 2020, the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration brings together ‘all types and sizes of local authorities – from small and medium sized towns to mega-cities, districts and regions, territories, federal states and provinces – to speak with a unified voice in renewing their commitments to develop sustainable food policies, promote mechanisms for joined-up action and call on national governments to put food and farming at the heart of the global response to the climate emergency.’. It is only by speaking with this ‘unified voice’ that we can put pressure on global decision makers to act now, before it is too late. 

 

Council therefore recognises;

-  the connection between environmental and social justice

-  the environmental devastation caused by the current food system, that results in one-third of all food that is produced globally being wasted before it even reaches the table.

-  that we have already taken a number of measures locally to address the issue of food waste including the adoption of a sustainable food policy (2018), our ongoing work with Cambridge Sustainable Food including the city’s recent award of Silver Sustainable Food Place status, including a specific objective on sustainable food in our new climate change strategy and trialling food waste collections in parts of the city.

-  that, as a district council, our capacity to ‘to assess GHG emissions reduction targets from food systems’ and directly achieve those reductions (Glasgow Declaration points 14 and 15) is inevitably limited.

-  the importance and potential of a working with other authorities, including the Combined Authority and County Council, to address food waste and sustainability at a local level.

 

Council resolves to;

-  reaffirm our commitment to developing and implementing our own sustainable food policy, and to explore potential ways in which we can work with neighbouring authorities

-  add the voices of the people of Cambridge to these calls for action by writing to Alok Sharma MP, president of the COP26 summit, calling for food waste and food systems to be put on the agenda.

-  make Cambridge the first district council in the UK to sign up to the principles in the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration and put pressure on national government to

o  address the environmental impact of food waste

o  recognise the fragility of our food systems, that has been highlighted under COVID-19 and shown, for example, by the demand on the city’s food hubs.

o  implement a food systems approach to accelerate climate action (and also to promote biodiversity and access to healthy and sustainable diets for all, among other co-benefits).

 

Resolved (unanimously) to support the motion.