By Tess Zinnes | 18 July 2018
Photo credit: WWF Philippines
From Conservation to Food Sustainability
World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) is one of the largest conservation non-profits, globally. What started as a funding institution for existing conservation groups symbolized by an iconic panda, evolved into six global goals – fresh water, wildlife, oceans, climate and energy, forests, and food – that cut across three drivers of environmental challenges – markets, finance and governance. It may at first seem odd for a conservation group to focus on food. Yet, the agri-industry is the dominating culprit of deforestation and is directly responsible for seventy percent of biodiversity loss.
By 2030, WWF’s Food Practice seeks to achieve the below three key outcomes by targeting sustainable production, sustainable consumption, and eliminating food waste.
- Agriculture and aquaculture production is managed sustainably to ensure biodiversity conservation, resilience to climate change, and benefits to rural communities.
- Food waste and post-harvest loss is halved along the value chain.
- Major market shifts towards consumer choices that are environmentally sustainable and heathier.
The world’s population, and therefore food demand, will double by 2050. The challenge ahead is how to produce more food without further devouring the finite land and water we ruthlessly use at our disposal. WWF passionately promotes a multi-pronged approach aimed at feeding the growing population on around the same quantity of land currently in use. Creativity is needed to boost efficiency and productivity, reduce food waste, and shift consumer patterns (i.e., consuming local products, minimizing meat intake, etc). WWF is leveraging each of the latter levers through the Sustainable Diner Project in the Philippines.
The Sustainable Diner Project
WWF Philippines (WWF PH) launched the Sustainable Diner Project in 2017 as part of WWF International’s International Climate Initiative. This three-year project aims to:
- Create multi sectoral awareness on the environmental impacts of the food industry and the underlying practices for sustainable approaches.
- Expand healthy and environment-friendly dining options.
- Create schemes for potential food and dining waste reduction.
- Mitigate greenhouse gas emissions within the food service industry.
Pilots are currently running in Tagaytay City, Cebu City, and Quezon City.
Photo credit: WWF Philippines
WWF PH’s lofty goals are bringing together government, food service players, and consumers to the table. For example, in early July, food service industry partners met with local as well as national government officials to discuss collaborative opportunities and challenges in sustainable dining. WWF PH has also developed a nine-step guide for the Filipino food sector. Such action oriented dialogues and tools go beyond being innovative in the Philippines, they are pioneering throughout Asia. What truly offers ripple effects for future food sustainability initiatives in the region, however, is WWF PH’s consumer market research.
Little is known about sustainable food trends in Asia. Excluding a Mintel Global Food and Drink Trends 2017 research study on South East Asian consumers and a 2009 research study conducted by Asia-Pacific LOHAS (‘Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability’), a tremendous knowledge gap exists. Though country specific, WWF PH’s research, commissioned with The Nielson Company (Philippines) and finalized in June 2018, offers scalable insights. A quantitative and qualitative methodology was applied to gauge Filipino awareness of food sustainability and their views on sustainable dining.
CSR Asia Summit 2018: Responsible Innovation and Consumer Trends in the Food Value-Chain
This September 18th in Hong Kong, WWF PH and WWF International will present their consumer market research findings at the CSR Asia Summit 2018. Their talk will highlight how consumer expectations on sustainability are shaping the market and what this means for companies. The Responsible Innovation and Consumer Trends in the Food Value-Chain summit session will also delve into the future of food production (Food Industry Asia) and digital solutions to food waste in the hospitality sector (Winnow Solutions).
The way we grow, transform, and eat food is at the core of many of today’s sustainability challenges - whether it’s climate change, biodiversity loss, or the human health impacts. We must move away from a system that treats food as a commodity to one that places the health of people and the planet at its heart. WWF’s Sustainable Diner project hopes to empower Filipinos and the food service sector to realize that their choices are the key ingredient to catalyze change.