What main trends in food waste has BAMX has identified in Mexico?
We have updated data on losses and wastage, regarding the numbers we had shared with the World Bank for the 2017 study. Dr. Genero Milano from the Politecnico Nacional led the study on losses and wastage that updated the number with data from 2020. During the pandemic, wastage and losses with respect to food increased in our country. In 2017, we had 20.7 million tons of food waste, while the updated number shows an increase to 23.7 million tons of product each year. This means that each minute we are throwing away around 42,000kg of food. The first thing this number shows it that there is still much we can do as individuals, families, or communities. There is also a lot to be done through private initiatives, especially with producers, distributors, and marketers, although all companies should become involved.
In what ways do you collaborate with the private sector?
We have started performing internal measurements with each signatory, applying certain formats so we can identify the real volume of their losses and wastage. We need to identify where the food losses and wastage are generated, which in a third phase will enable us to define actions they can implement to mitigate those losses. When a company, organization, or public body becomes part of the Pact for Food, we sign a collaboration agreement. The signatories that handle the food directly are those that implement the methodology we have imported from the UK. From the second year onward, if these players have seen an improvement in their losses and wastage volume, they commit to paying a quota to BAMX to cover upkeep and pay for the specialized and personalized technical support given to them. On our team, we have a former consultant of the World Bank with over 20 years of experience in residue management leading the technical area. In this way, the companies that work with us can see the logic from a business point of view to take these additional steps to reduce their food wastage. For example, there are companies in other countries that have applied this methodology and designed alternative product lines that now generate additional revenue for them. Others have made changes to their supply chain by incorporating new technologies, which have resulted in lower wastage volumes, making them save costs and, in some cases, earn higher profits. This is what we aim for in Mexico.
How has the pandemic impacted your work?
It has been challenging, because the pandemic is ongoing. We are at a different stage of it now, but still looking for alliances, and we keep on calling upon everyone to become active players when it comes to food causes. Today, there are more people living with food insecurity than last year, and even more when compared to pre-pandemic levels. In order to address this, we activated a marketing campaign called “We are the banks that feed Mexico" while for our allies we also created the “We are allies of the banks that feed Mexico" campaign. There is an assumed commitment of collaboration be it through logistics, infrastructure, or technology know-how, as well as by providing alternative types of supplies that might be needed for the operations of food recovery, handling and delivery. Additionally, there is also involvement with donations of food and economic resources to strengthen our aid network. One of the most recent agreements we signed was with the Business Coordinator Council (CCE) that decided to carry the banner for the cause, playing a more active role through all of its different members working together towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal Number 2, which is zero hunger. We also signed the agreement with the National Agricultural Council (CAN). We are keen, starting in 2022, to crystalize these alliances in specific and concrete actions taken by each of our partners.