A reduction in upstream FLW in smallholder systems is an opportunity not only to increase bottom lines, but also to deliver on critical and often difficult to achieve commitments like reduced GHGs, increased resource use efficiency and improved farmer livelihoods.
Food Loss & Waste in Smallholder Value Chains
Since 2014, the Sustainable Food Lab has been working with The Rockefeller Foundation as part of its Yieldwise Initiative.
The Food Lab has been focused on supporting food and beverage companies that source from smallholder producers to better understand the scope of the opportunity.
Dialogue with global food companies uncovered key questions around smallholder supply chain FLW that guided the Sustainable Food Lab’s work:
- When is direct measurement of FLW necessary?
- How do we determine which supply chains to invest in?
- How can we leverage FLW as an opportunity to deliver on our commercial and sustainability goals?
- What does a practical, business-friendly approach to FLW assessment look like?
- What lessons are other companies learning about measuring and reducing FLW?
Deep dive interviews with 40 multinational food companies—the world’s leading input providers, traders, processors, and retailers—helped us to understand their orientation and questions regarding supply chain FLW and the relative importance of their smallholder sourcing.
A synthesis of those interviews can be found in Connecting the Dots; Capturing Value through Food Loss & Waste Reduction in Your Supply Chain.
As part of the partnership between the Sustainable Food Lab, WUR, and with funding from The Rockefeller Foundation, we engaged two multi-national companies in pilots to design and develop practical methodologies to measure and assess the FLW that occurs within their smallholder value chains.
- In Nigeria a pilot was set up with Olam to understand the magnitude and impact of FLW in their outgrower rice initiative.
- In Kenya a pilot was set up with Sainsbury and VP Group (formerly Vegpro) to look at FLW in their smallholder French bean value chain.
From these pilots, the Sustainable Food Lab and WUR added to their growing body of knowledge about when FLW measurement in smallholder value chains is necessary, when it is practical, and how to approach it in a way that will lead to valuable insights. The latter, providing information into which investments could reduce FLW and deliver on important business and sustainability goals.
These learnings are shared in our Business Guide to Measuring Food Loss & Waste in Smallholder Value Chain developed for sustainability professionals within national and multi-national food and beverage companies.
Business Guide to Measuring Food Loss & Waste
Smallholder supply chains and family farms in the developing world hold exciting potential for reducing food loss and waste (FLW) and increasing the profitability and sustainability of our food systems. For this reason, the Food Lab and Wageningen University & Research (WUR) developed this Business Guide for Addressing Food Loss & Waste in Smallholder Value Chains, a tool for sustainability professionals seeking to reduce FLW in smallholder value chains.
With funding from The Rockefeller Foundation’s Yieldwise Food Loss Initiative, the Business Guide was created from a growing body of knowledge around smallholder FLW. It is closely aligned with the Food Loss & Waste Standard and Protocol and aims to provide companies a rigorous yet practical approach to measuring FLW.
To view the Business Guide, click the image below.
Partners & Resources
There are several platforms through which companies can engage with their peers to learn and act together to reduce food loss and waste. Some of the platforms that are convening peer companies on reduction of FLW in smallholder supply chains include:
- Cool Farm Alliance
- WBCSD’s Global Agri-Business Alliance
- WBCSD’s FReSH Initiative
- Champions 12.3
- FAO Community of Practice on Food Loss Reduction
- The Global Initiative on FLW Reduction (SAVE FOOD)
- Consortium for Innovation in Post-Harvest Loss and Food Waste
- Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP)
In addition to the Business Guide and Pilot Studies additional resources are available below: