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FoodClim (Reducing the contribution of food waste to Austria’s GHG emissions) is a research project that deals with the climate impact of food waste and opportunities for its reduction and prevention. The project runs for 2.5 years, from April 2016 to September 2018. It is funded by the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund within the 8th Call of the Austrian Climate Research Programme (ACRP).
The overall aim of FoodClim is to stimulate further reflections about food waste and thereby reduce the associated environmental impact in order to:

  • support the European Commission’s target of a 50% reduction of food waste;
  • contribute to emission reductions within the Austrian food sector; and to
  • help Austria attain an 80-95% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.

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In particular, the project aims to provide insights into the role and potential of peer-supported groups and local food-sharing initiatives in reducing food waste. FoodClim will contribute to the debate on climate change in the broader context of sustainable consumption by opening up a political as well as scientific discussion on possible ways to reduce the amount of food waste in Austria.

The project will raise awareness among food chain stakeholders, policy makers and the wider public and provide recommendations on best practice initiatives and instruments for achieving sufficiently fast-paced waste prevention strategies in Austria. The results will be of high relevance to policymakers and key stakeholders targeted and involved in the project as they can be applied to design clear, consistent and compelling strategies to further raise awareness in Austria for the value and appreciation of food.

The project is organized into seven work packages (WPs):

WP 1: For the Literature Review & Best Practice collection in WP1 the project will analyse existing scientific literature, relevant reports, and policy documents on food waste in order to give an overview of existing and effective food waste prevention initiatives and policy instruments in a range of other countries.

WP 2: The overall objective of this WP is to raise awareness and encourage behavioural change on a local level through information, tools and skills within a peer-supported process. Two participatory peer-supported groups will be established that integrate knowledge transfer, critical reflection, practical learning and mutual engagement on food waste. The aim of this WP is to obtain detailed insights into food waste practices of consumers, as well as to assess the effectiveness of information tools paired with a participatory and empowering process.

WP 3: WP3 analyses the food waste reduction initiative “myfoodsharing.at” in order to advance the understanding of (i) the motivations of members and founders to participate in this initiative, (ii) their socio-demographic characteristics and (iii) the obstacles and prospects for up-scaling the initiative, as well as future mechanisms and requirements to support food sharing in order to further strengthen and spread food sharing.

WP4: In this WP, the greenhouse emissions saved through reduction of food waste by the Peer Support Groups in WP2 and through the food-sharing platform in WP3 will be calculated. Downstream and upstream greenhouse gas emissions will be included in this assessment. Moreover, a top-down estimate of food waste in Austria will be made from the known food consumption (production + imports – exports) and estimated per capita caloric consumption. This will give an evaluation of the maximum potential food waste generated and the maximum potential for emission savings (theoretical potential). Since some of the wasted food is from imported food one can refine this potential to estimate the maximum potential for emission savings in Austria.

WP 5: The synthesis aims at describing and summarizing the results of the WP 1-4 and translating them into overarching results. It brings together the knowledge gained in the two case studies, as well as the greenhouse gas emissions reductions and the literature review and will provide a more holistic picture of the knowledge gathered throughout the project. It will serve as an important input for the stakeholder workshops.

WP 6: This WP will facilitate two stakeholder workshops with participants from different institutional levels linked to food and food waste, such as the Chamber of Agriculture, Global 2000, and the Federal Ministry of Environment, local initiatives that reduce food waste and individual citizens. The aim of the workshops is to initiate a discussion on climate-friendly opportunities for a more sustainable food use. The first workshop will address problem framing and the preliminary results from the review of the literature and best practice. The second workshop will deal with integrated solutions for food waste reductions.

WP 7: The overall management in terms of content and organization of the project as well as dissemination of results is ensured by WP7. Adequate communication of scientific results of the project and their wide dissemination among relevant food chain stakeholders, policy makers and the wider public is ensured by using the most appropriate tools and channels.

Those include a combination of:

  • Project website;
  • Facebook group;
  • Stakeholder dialogues;
  • Policy Briefs;
  • Booklet on best practices;
  • Publications in scientific journals, and
  • Participation in scientific conferences and workshops.

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