18 April 2023
Life consists of stages and occasions which define our identity, attitudes, and behaviours. We are constantly evolving, transitioning, and adapting as individuals and communities to the world around us.
Does the evolutionary nature of our lives and taking time for introspection provide an opportunity to consider our personal impact on the environment and influence our behaviour towards food waste reduction?
An international perspective
WRAP’s global vision is a thriving world in which climate change is no longer a problem. A key finding of The UNEP Food Waste Index Report 2021, developed in collaboration with WRAP, was that contrary to assumptions - household food waste isn’t just a developed world problem.
Indonesia is regarded as one of the largest food waste contributors in the world and a key focus for WRAP. According to the United Nations, food waste contributes 7.3% of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) every year in Indonesia, with 115kg to 184kg of food waste wasted per citizen (BAPPENAS 2021).
At the same time, according to the World Food Programme, 22.9million people in Indonesia are unable to meet dietary requirements and over a third of under five-year-olds are stunted, due to a mixture of factors, including malnutrition or access to only poor-quality foods.
A collaborative approach
Our food system requires systemic change.
For the last three years, WRAP has been working in partnership with the Indonesian Business Council for Sustainable Development (IBCSD) to tackle food loss and waste through a national public-private partnership known as GRASP 2030 (Gotong Royong Atasi Susut & Limbah Pangan di Tahun 2030).
The initiative brings together businesses and supporting actors across the food value chain in Indonesia to take action in making food production and consumption more sustainable.
This year WRAP and IBCSD were awarded a Sustainable Development Grant from the Danish Embassy in Indonesia to pilot a citizen behaviour change project in country, encouraging food waste reduction and donation.
The project entitled CONSUMINDFUL will raise awareness of the issue and promote the mindset of utilising what food is available. It also enables further activity under GRASP 2030 and for committed signatories to participate.
Eat wiser, no leftover
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection, and charitable acts, with Indonesia having the largest Islamic population in the world.
From sunrise to sunset Muslims fast. For each of the 30 days of fasting, the day begins pre-sunrise with the Suhoor meal, and is broken after sunset with the evening meal, called iftar. There is usually an abundance of food to celebrate the breaking the fast, which can cause a significant increase in food waste1. (The State of Food Waste in West Asia), and in the UK 50% of those observing Ramadan reported they had above average levels of food waste2.
In recognition of this special month of contemplation and personal reflection, WRAP developed a Ramadan rihla calendar for young people to be completed as a family.
A rihla is the Arabic word for a journey, or ‘quest ‘and calendar participants progress through their ‘quest’ via three levels - Family Helper, Planet Protector and Community Hero to become a Ramadan Champion. Within the calendar, one way to become a ‘Food Hero’ is to find 3 ways to stop food from being wasted and how to use it.
The initiative has been incorporated into the CONSUMINDFUL project with 400 calendars distributed by IBCSD to schools and community groups in Jakarta and Yogyakarta, and to several GRASP 2030 signatories.
At the Danish Embassy Indonesian office, the calendar took pride of place in the staff kitchen with colleagues taking part. WRAP developed a pre and post survey to capture the behaviour change of participants, this was captured digitally via a QR code integrated into the calendar with the responses currently being analysed.
1. The State of Food Waste in West Asia (pg 8) During Ramadan, 30-50 per cent of the food prepared in Saudi Arabia is thrown away; these shares reach 25 per cent in Qatar and 40 per cent in the United Arab Emirates.
2. WRAP unpublished Report (2022). 50% of Muslims surveyed in the UK who were observing Ramadan self-reported they had above average levels of food waste.
The period of Ramadan provides atonement and celebration for followers of the Islamic faith with positive behaviors to be personally discovered, evaluated, and reinforced.
Through the CONSUMINDFUL project, WRAP and IBCSD will be reporting specifically on the influence of the Ramadan calendar on food waste reduction behaviour and food donation.
Champions 12.3 call for governments, businesses, and individuals to ‘Target, Measure, Act’ on food loss and waste to achieve a global 50% reduction by 2030. Whilst the principles are evidenced internationally to be impactful, perhaps we can all bring this closer home through the personal behaviors of ‘Focus, Evaluate, reinforce’ on our journey to benefit humanity and the environment.