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FareShare has launched a new scheme to recognise food businesses in the supply chain that consistently divert their edible surplus food to charities and community groups.

Over 100 companies will initially be awarded a Leading Food Partner badge by the food redistribution charity.

Over the last year, the food industry has diverted 35,000 tonnes of in-date, nutritious food that would otherwise have been wasted, enough to create 84 million meals for vulnerable families. That avoided the needless wasting of 56,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases emitted in the production of this food.

Food waste accounts for 10 per cent of the world’s CO2 emissions, and in the UK alone an estimated 2m tonnes of edible food is wasted every year. Diverting unsold, edible food to charities avoids 17 times more carbon emissions than the next most environmentally friendly method of disposal, according to FareShare.

'The gold standard'

FareShare chief executive Lindsay Boswell said: “Food waste is an enormous contributor to climate change – and, quite frankly, this issue hasn’t been getting the attention it merits at COP. Hearteningly, the food industry has woken up to the problem of food waste.

'In the last five years we’ve quadrupled the amount of surplus food we redistribute, working with over 700 food businesses in the past year alone. Companies are putting plans in place to measure and report on food waste within their operations, reduce avoidable waste, then divert in-date, edible food that can’t be sold to charities putting meals onto people’s plates.

'We value each and every one of our food partners, but the Leading Food Partner badge recognises businesses who have achieved the gold standard when it comes to fighting food waste within their operations – those who are consistently getting surplus food to good causes,and taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint.”