Tesco operations in central Europe commit to tackling food waste

No food to waste.  No time to waste. I first heard this line from Dave Lewis when he delivered a speech on tackling food waste at the Consumer Goods Forum summit in Cape Town. The phrase stuck in my mind. It's powerful in raising attention to one of the world’s leading environmental and social challenges. When Tesco Europe decided to organise its next conference on food waste in Budapest, it was quite obvious for me to pick this line as the title of the event.

The conference is an important milestone in Tesco’s mission on tackling food waste. We've committed to work with national governments and charities so that by 2020 all our stores in central Europe will offer food surplus to local charities.  We've signed a strategic partnership agreement with the Central European Foodbank representatives. This outlines how we will work together to achieve this goal.

We run a food surplus donation programme in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia similar to the Community Food Connection in the UK. More than 280 stores across central Europe are already donating surplus food to local charity food bank partners. Since the start of the programme, we've donated 5,000 tonnes of food, which equals almost 13 million meals.  We have ambitious targets to extend this programme. By the end of the year we will have reached over 340 stores.

We know that delivering our commitment won’t be straightforward. It's why we believe working in partnership with the third sector and with government will overcome any challenges. We recognise the capacity challenges that small local charities face and are working with food banks to help address this. We're also committed to working with national governments to ensure there's a regulatory environment that encourages food surplus donations.

We have a responsibility to fight food waste in our operations.  We are also looking to engage our customers and suppliers to work with us to reduce food waste. Together, I believe we can achieve our ambition for no good food to go to waste.

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