The Taskforce Circular Economy in Food, launched today during the National Food Summit in the Netherlands, aims to prevent and reduce food waste and become an international frontrunner in the valorisation of agrifood residual streams. The Taskforce, an initiative by Wageningen University & Research, in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Sustainable Food Alliance, connects initiatives against food waste. It is leading the transition towards acceleration and the development of a circular economy. The Taskforce is currently composed of 25 members from the entire food supply chain, from SMEs to food multinationals, and supplemented with members from public and societal organisations.
The organisations committed to the Taskforce have noted that the initiatives in the Netherlands are currently fragmented and that they must be connected to implement tangible impactful changes. They have answered to the call of the European Court of Auditors to arrive at a coherent, ambitious policy with concrete objectives.
Strategy and roadmap
In the second half of 2017, the Taskforce will publish a national strategy and roadmap to collectively achieve a circular economy in food: an economy in which waste does not exist, agrifood residual streams are re-used in the best possible way, and raw materials retain their value. In the roadmap, there are concrete goals and actions for both the short and long term. In addition, the Taskforce will function as a think-tank and a source of inspiration and will challenge businesses to innovate more rapidly. Participants can use insights gained from the European research programme REFRESH, which is coordinated by Wageningen University & Research; the Taskforce is strongly linked to this programme. “With businesses taking the lead, we are building an ecosystem in which we will dedicatedly work towards realising solutions and tangible economic, ecological, and social impact,” says Toine Timmermans, programme manager at Wageningen University & Research and initiator of the Taskforce. Within the Taskforce network, actions, best practices, instruments, and progress reports will be shared and innovative business cases will be developed. During the upcoming two years, dozens of actions and projects will be launched and supported.
Preeminent leaders in the field of sustainability, Dick Boer (Ahold Delhaize), Feike Sijbesma (Royal DSM), Hans Hoogeveen (FAO), Tjerk Wagenaar (Nature & Environment), Conny Braams (Unilever), Hans de Boer (VNO-NCW) and Louise Fresco (WUR), are ambassadors for the Taskforce. Businesses are more than welcome to join the initiative as signatory member or supporter. Signatory members will take concrete actions against food waste and report their progress transparently. Supporters will endorse the ambitions of the Taskforce and receive support for addressing food waste in a variety of ways. The Taskforce aims for at least 100 active business members by 2018.