2016 Rio Olympics Introduces Food Waste Initiative to Tackle Global Food Waste

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In the bid to tackle food waste, Rio Olympic Games 2016 has introduced a food waste initiative labelled: “Reffetto-Rio”. This is against the backdrop of an Initiative launched at the Milan Expo 2015 themed: “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”

The project “Reffetto-Rio” which was initiated by an internationally-renowned chef and founder of “Food for Soul”, Massimo Bottura, and David Hertz, a chief and founder of the “Gastromotiva” non-profit organisation, was presented in Rome on July 8, 2016 and it aims at turning the surplus food from the Olympic Village during the Rio Olympics into meals for the people in need.

As part of the programme, cooking and nutrition classes are planned for youth and people in difficulty, with the participation of volunteers and 45 chefs from around the world.

A recent study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) shows that global food waste, at a country’s scale, represents the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter. Studies also show per capita waste by consumers is between 95-115 kg a year in Europe and North America, while consumers in sub-Saharan Africa, south and south-eastern Asia, each throw away only 6-11 kg a year.

Hence, initiatives can be mirrored all over the world or new ones initiated to effectively curb food waste and reduce hunger and emissions, as Maurizio Martina, Italy’s minister of agricultural policies clearly points out: “Everyone must do their part for a world of zero food waste and zero hunger,” he said.

For instance, the Refettorio Ambrosiano which set the pace for the “Reffetto-Rio,” is still in practice today, reflecting the Milan Charter and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and it resulted in more than 15 tonnes of food redistributed instead of being wasted.

FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva mirrors the minister’s thoughts that all stakeholders have a crucial role in promoting the importance of ending hunger and improving nutrition, especially at big sports events like the Olympic Games.

“Every single citizen can contribute.”

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