Fighting hunger and reducing food waste.

According to the UN, 1.3 billion tonnes of food go to waste every year, while one billion people worldwide are undernourished and another billion suffer from hunger. In addition to the human and economic costs of food waste, there are less obvious – but very real – environmental consequences.

The food sector accounts for about 30% of the world’s energy consumption and about one-fifth of total greenhouse gas emissions. Because so much of the world’s food goes to waste, a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions are being generated without an offsetting human benefit.


VCIM has actively engaged with Costco Wholesale, North West Company and Loblaw Companies on the issue of food waste to determine their current practices and help identify potential areas for improvement. We posed four main questions to each company:

  1. Do you work with food banks to repurpose unsold perishable foods such as produce, meat and dairy?
  2. Do you currently destroy unsold perishable food?
  3. Have you considered keeping track of precisely how much waste each store generates?
  4. Would you consider adopting a zero food waste target through a Reduce, Reuse, Recycle program?


Costco replied that it donates non-perishable goods to local food banks and is exploring the possibility of donating perishable foods. Additionally, almost 7,000 tonnes of the company’s organic waste is repurposed to produce fertilizer, compost, biofuels and animal feed.

North West works with 20 charities and food banks to provide meal programs. Loblaw has a 25-year relation-ship with food banks and 300 corporate-owned stores have local partnerships. The company also keeps detailed records of food waste and is working to establish a food waste reduction target.

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