Eliminating food waste has climbed to the top table of priorities for Walmart Canada in a three-pronged initiative.
Walmart Canada has announced a commitment to achieve zero food waste by 2025, while Walmart Foundation is providing $15m in grants to support Canadian initiatives and research to reduce food waste along the food chain from farm to fork.
The strategy builds on the company’s efforts since 2005 to eradicate food waste. In Canada, Walmart reduced food waste in its own operations by 23 percent between 2015 and 2017.
“We are stepping up in the fight against food waste and hunger,” said Lee Tappenden, president and CEO, Walmart Canada.
The company has declared a three-step strategy to zero food waste in Canada by 2025:
Improve efficiencies, enhance value:
It will improve operational efficiencies while enhancing value to the customer.
These will include discounting repackaged bruised or peak-freshness produce through Walmart’s $1/$2 Bag Program and reducing prices with Walmart’s Customer Value Program to allow for the quick sale of fresh meat, bakery, dairy and produce items approaching their best-before dates.
Walmart will also improve bakery production operations to reduce over-production while providing additional processes, training and resources to associates.
It plans to implement organic recycling programs in 338 stores and distribution centre locations across Canada, allowing facilities to recycle unsaleable and unsold food into animal feed, compost and energy.
Increasing food donations:
All Walmart Canada stores will be paired with local food banks to maximize surplus food donations, with approximately 85 percent of stores regularly donating their surplus food products.
Providing philanthropic support:
Walmart Canada has committed $1 million to Food Banks Canada for the 2018 Fight Hunger. Spark Change. campaign in support of food banks across the country.
Mr Tappenden added: “I’m very proud of our comprehensive, 360-degree approach to tackle these issues.
“In addition to the Walmart Foundation’s significant funding, Walmart Canada’s operational initiatives, food donations and philanthropy will help to further reduce food waste and food insecurity in Canada.”
Supporting food waste innovation in Canada
Walmart Foundation will also be investing $15 million USD across Canada in not-for-profit organizations engaged in research and innovative initiatives to reduce food waste along the food chain.
These projects include a $621,600 USD granted to create a roadmap that will present a deeper analysis of food waste and loss across the supply chain by region, sector and food type, and will include insights on the causes of food waste and loss.
This information will be used to outline potential solutions that could reduce food waste and loss through prevention, recovery and recycling.
A $1.5 M USD in funding for FoodRescue.ca, an online system that provides access for businesses to quickly and easily donate surplus food of any kind, such as perishable dairy, prepared foods, produce and freshly baked products.
The Daily Bread Food Bank will receive a $726,352 grant to enable Daily Bread to work with five large food banks in Ontario to help with the distribution of fresh produce across the province.
Food Banks Canada will get $2,310,000 to allow it to foster greater collaboration, build skills and share best practices across its network.
“The Walmart Foundation is committed to being part of the solution on the important issue of food waste in Canada,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Walmart.
“We hope today’s announcements will help accelerate momentum and inspire even more collective action to reduce food waste and alleviate hunger in Canada.”