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New Research Identifies National Strategies and Reporting Frameworks to Curb Food Waste, Climate Change, and Hunger

Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic and The Global FoodBanking Network offer comprehensive policy opportunities for national governments

Boston, MA. (April 24, 2024) – Food loss and waste (FLW) occurs at every stage of the supply chain and generates significant social, environmental, and economic costs. About one-third of food produced globally – or about 1.3 billion tons – is lost or wasted annually. It ends up in landfills, where it emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas, as it rots. Yet, about 783 million people faced hunger globally, or about 1 in 10 people, in 2022.

In addition to environmental benefits, reducing FLW results in sizable economic benefits by minimizing costs associated with producing and discarding food that is never consumed. Food donation also helps mitigate the costs of hunger and stimulates the economy: food banks and other food recovery organizations provide jobs and catalyze community development, and recipients of donated food can spend limited financial resources on other basic goods and services

Thoughtful public policies can help address the troubling mismatch between food waste and hunger. Two are explored in new Issue Briefs published by The Global Food Donation Policy AtlasNational Strategies and Reporting Policies – which share best practices designed to support food donation, reduce food waste, and limit climate change. The Atlas is a collaboration between the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic and The Global FoodBanking Network.

The National Strategies Issue Brief recommendations are designed to:

  • Align national stakeholders around tactical strategies and attainable national FLW and food donation targets
  • Strategically incorporate state and local governments toward meeting national FLW targets
  • Empower consumers, the private sector, and other stakeholders to participate in the strategy and help them understand their role in meeting national FLW targets

The Reporting Policies Issue Brief recommendations are designed to:

  • Illuminate the amount of food waste and identify opportunities to reduce waste and increase food donation
  • Help entities navigate varying reporting standards and promote clarity and consistency in reporting

“National strategies allow governments to align public policy, private sector activity and inspire behavior change toward meeting food waste reduction goals; governments also can support entities in undertaking emissions or food waste reporting to help them understand and address waste in their operations, by endorsing a reporting standard and providing technical assistance to smaller companies that need data management support,” said Emily Broad Leib, clinical professor of law and faculty director of the Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School. “These are both powerful tools for national leaders and help ensure that safe, surplus food makes it to those in need instead of to a landfill.”

“Closing the gap to reduce food waste and feed more people involves everyone. Our new papers on national strategies and food waste reporting provide a roadmap for collaboration that can streamline food donation so more wholesome meals end up on families’ tables instead of in landfills,” said Lisa Moon, president and CEO of the Global FoodBanking Network. “We urge policymakers to work collectively to enact national strategies that will comprehensively address food loss and waste and create change that is good for people and the planet.”

Further discussion of these recommendations can be found in the Policy Issues section of The Global Food Donation Policy Atlas co-produced by the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic and The Global FoodBanking Network with support from the Walmart Foundation and Lineage Foundation for Good. The research included in The Atlas promotes strong food donation policies as global solutions to hunger and food loss and waste, analyzes and compares national laws, and offers tailored recommendations to clarify and optimize food donation.


The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic

Since 2010, the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) has served partner organizations and communities by providing guidance on cutting-edge food system issues while engaging and educating law students in the practice of food law and policy. FLPC is committed to advancing a cross-sector, multidisciplinary, and inclusive approach to its work, building partnerships with academic institutions, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, private-sector actors, and civil society with expertise in public health, the environment, and the economy. FLPC’s work focuses on increasing access to healthy foods, supporting sustainable production and regional food systems, promoting community-led food system change, and reducing waste of healthy, wholesome food.

The Global FoodBanking Network

The Global FoodBanking Network supports community-driven solutions to alleviate hunger in more than 50 countries. While millions struggle to access enough safe and nutritious food, nearly a third of all food produced is lost or wasted. GFN is changing that. GFN believes food banks directed by local leaders are key to achieving Zero Hunger and building resilient food systems. For more information, visit

The Lineage Foundation for Good

Our mission is to reduce food waste and fight food insecurity by developing a dynamic, real-time and global link between those who commercially produce our food and the individuals, families and communities who need it most. The Foundation is driven by its core mission of reducing food waste and fighting food insecurity. It seeks to create a dynamic link where safe, quality food can quickly and easily be directed from food producers to those in need — food that would have otherwise gone unconsumed. The Foundation will also provide a vehicle through which Lineage’s expertise and best practices can be brought to its non-profit partners so they can improve their ability to receive and store food in the most efficient fashion. To learn more, visit

The Walmart Foundation

By using our strengths to help others, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation create opportunities for people to live better every day. Walmart has stores in 28 countries, employing more than 2.3 million associates and doing business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are helping people live better by accelerating upward job mobility for the retail workforce; addressing hunger and making healthier, more sustainably-grown food a reality; and building strong communities where we operate. We are not only working to tackle key social issues, but we are also collaborating with others to inspire solutions for long-lasting systemic change. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit

Adaobi N. Ezeokoli
Food Law and Policy Clinic

James Frederick
The Global FoodBanking Network