Challenge: Organisational buy-in
In order to avoid or reduce excess food waste, you first need to acknowledge that there is a need for improvement and commitment to sustainability and reducing food waste within your organisation. It may take your management or team a little convincing. Be sure to have a dedicated individual who can be a champion for managing food waste in the organisation.
Benefits of effective food waste management include:
- An improved business image
- Reduced carbon emissions from the decreased transportation of waste
- Reduced costs due to smaller and more streamlined order requirements
- Reduced waste disposal costs leading to increased profits
- Possibility of tax deductions and other fiscal incentives
- Re-use of non-edible food waste can sometimes be monetised when used for secondary purposes (e.g. animal feed)
- Improved relations with stakeholders, including the local community through the concrete demonstration of CSR practices
- Reduced risks and liabilities
- Health and safety benefits (e.g. pest reduction, reduced odour emissions from garbage, more sanitary streets in your community)
- Increased employee morale
Read more about making the business case for food waste by Hanson and Mitchell (2017) from WRI and WRAP.
Start by developing a sustainability policy for your own organisation (see example of PATA’s Sustainability Policy), and be sure to include your commitment to sustainable food and waste management in your mission statement, as well as throughout your organisational strategies.
What to include in your sustainability policy:
- Your organisation’s mission in relation to sustainability
- Your organisation’s commitment to sustainability and how you demonstrate/aim to demonstrate it
- Your organisation’s scope
- Your organisation’s relationship with existing/potential environmental and social impacts relative to its location, local environment, and scale of services provided.
You may also wish to develop ‘A Guide to Developing a Sustainable Food Purchasing Policy’.
As part of your sustainable food operations, obtaining and maintaining staff buy-in is critical (WRAP, n.d.): Setting goals and explaining the benefits to everyone will help them to understand why changes are necessary.
Making sure that everyone is involved and on board also helps to mainstream the process and makes implementing food waste measures easier. Be sure to communicate clearly with staff, to not only increase awareness but also encourage dialogue. Getting staff involved will bring about a sense of ownership. Providing visual aids such as posters throughout the kitchen can also help promote behaviour change. Keep staff motivated by setting SMART food waste reduction goals.
A key factor for organisations is staff training. This includes: meetings and presentations with Q&A on the total program and audit, and involves members from multiple relevant departments, who are given hands-on training from the beginning.
Off-site visits can be conducted to make the mission and reasons why tackling food waste is imperative. Suggestions for off-site visits include taking staff to visit composting sites, farms, and landfills, or volunteering by riding along in a food truck to donate food in the community.