Food Northwest joins PCC to cut food waste by half
Formerly the Northwest Food Processors Association (NWFPA), , is a trade association “organized to advance the ability of the food industry to produce and deliver wholesome, safe food from the Pacific Northwest to the world.”
Cutting food waste helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserves water and land resources, and helps support those who face food insecurity, something Covid-19 has accelerated the need for, with a higher risk of food waste and an increase of Americans seeking food assistance.
With 150 processor members and over 350 suppliers, Food Northwest is one of the nation’s largest food processing trade associations. The announcement encourages manufacturers based in Washington and Oregon to build collaborative efforts to reduce food loss and waste in their operations. In 2020, PCC, along with nonprofit resource partners , (WWF), and , 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.
“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 NW 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.”
“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 WRI.
“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, WWF. “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.”
From the , “ 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. Through the Pacific Coast Collaborative, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, and the cities of Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles are working together to build the low carbon economy of the future. We share ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at least 80 percent by 2050. We back up our commitments with regional action to transform our power grids, transportation systems, buildings, and economies while increase resilience to a changing climate.
“By connecting jurisdictions at the regional level — and connecting states and provinces with cities in the region — the PCC facilitates collaboration on issues that cross borders and jurisdictional boundaries, such as grid integration, a comprehensive electric vehicle charging network, and responding to ocean acidification. We pool policy and technical expertise, share strategies to curb greenhouse gas emissions while growing the economy, and work together to implement them.”
Germany Adopts Revolutionary Supply Chain Human Rights Laws
While the title states that Germany’s newly adopted that targets human rights abuse across global supply chains is “revolutionary” ─ which it is ─, it certainly shouldn’t be. But nonetheless, today, on June 11th, 2021, the German Parliament has ushered in a long-awaited shift to mandatory company compliance rules. After months of negotiation, the German lawmakers finally pushed it over the finish line within the final days of the current legislative period. The bill will see German multinational corporations held legally responsible for any human rights or environmental abuses found across their global supply chains.
“The German government has taken a critical step to ensure that companies operate responsibly,” said Juliane Kippenberg, associate director, children's rights division, at Human Rights Watch. “Respect for human rights in global supply chains is not something that should be optional.”
This news comes at a time when global corporations are already being pushed towards environmental, social and governance (ESG) compliance, with a massive drive to reduce Scope 1, 2, and 3 carbon emissions from their supply chain operations and a concerted effort to avoid suppliers and manufacturers that do not meet the standards that industry-leading companies are now expected to meet.
Who will the new law affect?
With Germany’s new legislation, organisations that fail to meet the rules and regulations could be forced to pay fines potentially equivalent to 2% of their annual global turnover. However, it isn’t applicable to all.
According to Reuters, under the act, companies above a certain size will be forced to establish set due diligence procedures that prevent the abuses; from 2023, only companies with more than 3,000 employees in Germany will be affected. From 2024, the rules will expand to companies with more than 1,000 employees.
Statistics from within the country suggest that the first stage of this regulation rollout will affect 900 companies, while the second stage will put 4,800 companies under the spotlight. The bill will also enable the government to temporarily exclude from public tenders companies that receive fines in excess of €175,000.
“Incalculable risks arise for companies,” said Joachim Lang, general manager at the Federation of German Industry. A word of warning from a respected leader, at a time when industry lobby groups and wholesale businesses fear that the new law increases bureaucracy and suggest that price rises may be inbound.
The Take of German Giants
After looking at the incoming legislation, Daimler AG, known more commonly as the automotive giant Mercedes-Benz, a company which, should there happen to be any ESG-compliance issues along its multinational supply chain, would pay a hefty fee, is welcoming of the push for change but hesitant about certain aspects of the bill.
“Daimler's position is: The respect for human rights is a central aspect of our sustainable business strategy. We, therefore, welcome the progress made on the Supply Chain Act. Although the regulations are very ambitious, the proposed legislation has a sound approach overall. It is based on internationally recognised human rights and on international agreements. And it gives companies more legal certainty in an area that has so far only been partially regulated.
Supply chains are not "chains" but rather exceedingly complex networks: Daimler alone has over 60,000 direct suppliers - and many more sub-suppliers. For this reason, we also consider the proposed risk-based gradual model to be sensible. The responsibility of the companies lies primarily in their own business area and with their direct suppliers. Companies must then take action in the deeper supply chain if there are concrete indications of human rights violations. Daimler AG already does that today.
Even though we support the proposed legislation in principle, we consider some aspects to be critical, e.g. the planned fines of up to 2% of the average annual turnover. Instead of threats of sanctions, we consider concrete measures, which companies must take in the event of deficits, to be more expedient. In addition, certain wordings are still vague and leave room for interpretation. Terms such as, e.g. "fair standard of living" should be phrased precisely in order to create legal certainty. Furthermore, documentation and reporting requirements should not lead to unnecessary bureaucracy and should be harmonised with existing rules. On the one hand, this does not help the people on the ground, and on the other hand, it puts a burden on the companies – and the implementation can pose substantial challenges for smaller companies in particular.”
This law is arguably one of the most important developments in the supply chain space so far this year. But it must be remembered that changes do not and will not happen at the push of a button and that democratic principles should be applied to the discussion prior to enshrining legislation into tablature. Environmental and human rights advocacy is a hike, not a brisk walk around the park ─ so, for German companies, it’s time to get their boots on the ground and start assessing their global, interconnected supply chain operations. And, hopefully, they’ll set a stellar example for the rest of us.