Round Financial system Case Research: Eating in London

Circular Economy Case Study: Dining in London

Food is at the heart of ambitious Londoners carbon free And no loss Goals. It is appreciated that food and drink are taken into account 10% of London’s consumption-based emissions – the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after housing and mobility.

The London Flagship Food Initiative works to better coordinate, streamline and accelerate progress towards a circular economycircular economyA systems solutions framework that addresses global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, waste and pollution. It is based on three principles driven by design: eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials (at their highest value), and regenerate nature. for food as part of the city’s sustainability goals. As part of this initiative, London aims to start transforming its entire food system: reducing organic waste, increasing access to healthy food, producing more of its own ingredients, reducing food-related emissions and boosting its economy. Therefore, the city’s nutritional goals touch many departments.

In a unique, cross-sectoral approach, the Food Flagship Initiative has brought together stakeholders from across the city in support a three-year joint action plan. Agencies such as county councils, brands, suburban farmers, restaurants, universities, schools, charities and local community groups have been engaged and empowered to support a single, data-driven agenda.

Mapping the current landscape to identify gaps and opportunities, creating a central vision, and taking a consultative, collaborative approach to implementation have been key to the program’s success so far.

how it started

Building on the city Eat And Surroundings Strategies from 2018 and a growing body of research around the circular economy for food in cities (including the Foundation Cities and circular economy for food report in 2019) the London Food Flagship Initiative was launched in 2020 as a partnership between the Mayor of London, From London and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

To build basic understanding and take short-term action, ReLondon has published London’s food footprint, a unique report that tracks how food-related emissions flow through the city. It has been found that despite rising food costs and increased reliance on food banks, a third of all food shipped to London is lost or wasted. Although an estimated 67% of this food is edible, only 0.5% of edible food waste is currently redistributed or recycled to create new food products. And while the Covid pandemic has exposed the fragility of supply chains, more than 99% of the food consumed in the city is imported from outside the capital.

Following this research and mapping exercise, the Food Flagship Initiative identified hotspots before consulting with stakeholders across the food value chain in workshops and events to develop impactful interventions targeting them.

How it works

The initiative identified 20 priority interventionseach with a lead organization assigned to drive change, assess progress and ensure harmonious action between the different actors.

For example, schools and local authorities are supported to increase their sourcing of nutritious, low-carbon ingredients to lead by example; Environmental health practitioners are trained to provide advice on reducing food waste during inspections; Nodes are supported to increase the collection and redistribution of surplus food; and the initiative encourages business innovation through the Circular pioneer project (which recognises, encourages and supports pioneering circular food activities) and promoting behavioral change among citizens through awareness campaigns across London building on the success of previous campaigns such as TRiFOCAL (Small change, big difference).

ReLondon, the Greater London Authority and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation are working together to administer the scheme in collaboration with The London Councils One World Life Scheme And Receive. Together they maintain regular contact with these food chain actors to develop the interventions, ensure harmonized efforts and promote solutions.

Why it is an example of the circular economy

Interventions underway in London aim to make better use of food, avoid waste and switch to healthier and more environmentally friendly diets. Using a mix of approaches – including vision setting, grants, voluntary standards, procurement commitments, convocation and partnerships – the Food Flagship Initiative leverages a number of urban policy levers accessible. Using a combination of interventions in this way is an effective way to promote change at a lasting, systemic level.

Cities have significant buying power as buyers, promoters and consumers of food. While the food system is complex and global, megacities like London are in a unique position to spark change. By creating a circular food systemLondon could see a 31% reduction in consumption-related emissions per year.

How it is going

By building evidence, strengthening existing best practices and promoting new circular initiatives, the city is reducing emissions and tackling food waste. London won the Milan Food Policy Pact Food Waste Award.

Although interventions are still ongoing, curbside food waste collection has so far increased by 15%; 226 tons of food were redistributed; 80 additional tons of food were produced in the city; 78,000 young people were educated about sustainable eating habits; and food innovators have developed interventions that have avoided 56,831 tonnes of CO2e.

Lessons learned

  • Collaboration is key. Transitioning to a fully circular food economy in a city involves a variety of issues, departments and stakeholders. It is important to take the time to engage and consult with the right decision makers to bring different activities together.

  • A clear vision is crucial to engage stakeholders and it should be supported by data to get full endorsement.

  • Dedicated research and mapping can identify both critical areas of intervention and the magnitude of the opportunity. For example:

    • By continuing to prioritize local and agroecological food – for example through the Fringe farming project – The city can get other benefits, such as: B. Greater resilience, more jobs, promoting biodiversity, sequestering carbon and improving local soil and water quality.

    • London as a whole could increase GDP by £2-4 billion annually until 2036 by using all possibilities of the circular economy.

  • Cities need a series of radical public-private partnerships to build the level of collaboration required for systemic change. The Food Flagship Initiative offers some replicable blueprints, but many more are needed.


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