Today, the Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC) announces that Food Northwest -- organized to advance the ability of the food industry to produce and deliver wholesome, safe food from the Pacific Northwest to the world -- is the first industry association to join the West Coast Voluntary Agreement to Reduce Wasted Food to implement measurable action to cut food waste in half by 2030. Food Northwest is one of the nation’s largest food processing trade associations, with 150 processor members and over 350 suppliers. This announcement opens the door for manufacturers based in Washington and Oregon that are Food Northwest members to collaborate with other PCC signatories, state and local governments, and national and international resource partners to reduce food loss and waste in their operations.
In 2020, PCC, along with nonprofit resource partners ReFED, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and WRAP, called on food businesses and their supply chain partners to join this public-private partnership, one of the largest in the world focused on reducing food waste. The first signatories were announced last year: Albertsons Companies West Coast divisions, which include stores such as Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, and Pavilions; The Kroger Co.; PCC Community Markets; New Seasons Market; and Sprouts Farmers Markets. Food Northwest’s commitment underscores the need to reduce waste across the entire supply chain and significantly advance progress toward PCC’s 50% reduction goal.
“With Food Northwest’s strong track record of significantly reducing our industry-wide energy use over the past decade, our alignment with the PCC will be leveraged as we work together to deliver against the important goal to reduce food waste,” said Mike Meredith, Food Northwest Board Chair and Senior VP, Continental Mills. “Food Northwest members look forward to this long-term relationship.”
“The success of food waste reduction depends on cross sector collaboration. Seattle Public Utilities is excited that Food Northwest is joining jurisdictions, nonprofits and retailers to help our region discover and take needed action to cut food waste,” said Liz Fikejs, Senior Waste Prevention Program Manager at Seattle Public Utilities.
“Oregon is highly committed to reducing wasted food,” said Elaine Blatt, Senior Policy Analyst at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. “We’re so pleased that this Oregon-based association has stepped into this critical role and will likely propel other businesses to address one of today’s most pressing environmental issues.”
Curbing the 35% of food that goes uneaten each year will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve water and land resources, and support those facing food insecurity—which has become increasingly critical in the wake of COVID-19, as the amount of food at risk of being wasted has risen, and more Americans are seeking food assistance. The Pacific Coast of North America represents the world’s fifth-largest economy, a thriving region of 55 million people with a combined GDP of $3 trillion. The Pacific Coast Collaborative was formed in 2008 to facilitate collaboration on issues that cross state borders and jurisdictional boundaries. With management support from Cascadia Policy Solutions, an environmental and public policy consulting firm, the states of Washington, Oregon, California, and the cities of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, and Vancouver, BC are working together to build the low carbon economy of the future.
Through their work with PCC, Food Northwest and other food business signatories receive a range of benefits, including:
- Return on Investment – Food waste reduction programs around the world have shown proven return on investment for all types of food service businesses;
- Data Insights – Individual anonymous reporting from all Agreement signatories enables businesses to measure their progress, identify priority areas of action, and benchmark against competitors; and
- Industry Collaboration – Pre-competitive Working Groups open to all PCC signatories offer opportunities for businesses to learn from each other’s successes; discuss solutions to challenges; and engage with government leaders through special policy roundtable discussions.
PCC’s regional collaboration serves as a model for other regions around the country to do their part to reduce food waste. It is aligned with important global efforts, such as World Resources Institute’s “10x20x30” initiative to bring together ten of the world’s biggest food retailers and providers to each engage with 20 of their priority suppliers to halve rates of food loss and waste by 2030, as well as Walmart’s “Project Gigaton” to avoid one billion metric tons (a gigaton) of greenhouse gases from the value chain by 2030 – all of which were implemented to drive action to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, which detailed targets for food waste reduction around the world.
“Reducing food waste is more than smart business – it’s the right thing to do. The steps taken by Food Northwest and the PCC are further indication that food suppliers recognize this and are driving a movement to scale meaningful action,” said Craig Hanson, Vice President of Food, Forests, Water & the Ocean at World Resources Institute.
“Food waste is a systemwide problem, which means it requires a systemwide response. And that’s why public-private partnerships like the PCC West Coast Voluntary Agreement to Reduce Wasted Food are so critical,” said Pete Pearson, Senior Director, Food Loss and Waste at World Wildlife Fund. “Waste reduction can no longer be seen as a competitive issue. When all businesses (and citizens) start working together to measure, share data, and reduce waste through cooperation, our progress will be exponentially faster. We’re running out of time to get serious on these issues.”
ABOUT FOOD NORTHWEST:
Established in 1914 and headquartered in Portland, Oregon, Food Northwest is one of the nation’s largest food processing trade associations. Food Northwest’s membership includes over 150 food processing facilities in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho as well as over 300 member suppliers of goods and services to the industry. Food Northwest’s members include national companies with operations or headquarters in the Pacific Northwest, regional companies and locally-run family businesses, and affiliate members located outside the Northwest. Northwest food processors are nationally recognized for their leadership and efforts to promote sustainability, to become more energy efficient, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions levels.
ABOUT THE PCC RESOURCE PARTNERS:
Cascadia Policy Solutions
Cascadia Policy Solutions is an environmental and public policy consulting firm that provides the highest level of environmental and energy related problem-solving expertise available in the Pacific Northwest. Services provided include facilitation and mediation, strategic process support, policy development, and administrative and legislative advocacy services, along with clean tech development services.
ReFED is a national nonprofit working to end food loss and waste across the food system by advancing data-driven solutions to the problem. We leverage data and insights to highlight supply chain inefficiencies and economic opportunities; mobilize and connect supporters to take targeted action; and catalyze capital to spur innovation and scale high-impact initiatives. Our goal is a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive food system that optimizes environmental resources, minimizes climate impacts, and makes the best use of the food we grow. To learn more about our solutions to reduce food waste, please visit www.refed.com.
WRAP is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2000. It works with governments, businesses and NGOs around the world to deliver practical solutions to improve resource efficiency. Its mission is to accelerate the move to a sustainable, resource-efficient economy by: re-inventing how we design, produce and sell products; re-thinking how we use and consume products; and re-defining what is possible through reuse and recycling. It works in the priority sectors for food and drink; clothing and textiles; and plastics. To find out more visit www.wrap.org.uk
World Wildlife Fund
WWF is one of the world’s leading conservation organizations, working in nearly 100 countries for over half a century to help people and nature thrive. With the support of more than 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat the climate crisis. Visit www.worldwildlife.org to learn more.