UK – The UK government has appointed Ben Elliot as its first Food Surplus and Waste Champion with a role to set direction to help eliminate food waste across England.
He is also tasked to promote awareness regarding food waste in line with the government’s ambitious goals to cut food waste and become world’s benchmark for sustainable development.
Appointed by Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Elliot is mandated to help drive down unnecessary food waste in the UK which totals 10.2 million tonnes per year, as stipulated in the government’s plans to make England a waste-free nation.
Ben Elliot is the philanthropist co-founder of lifestyle group Quintessentially and chair of the Quintessentially Foundation, the business’s philanthropic arm that aims to improve the education, health and welfare of disadvantaged people and communities in the United Kingdom.
Elliot will work with businesses and other stakeholders from across retail, food manufacture, hospitality and food services, motivating businesses to tackle food waste from farm to fork.
“Food waste is an economic, environmental and moral scandal, we must end it.
That’s why I am delighted Ben Elliot is taking up this position and know he will bring the enthusiasm and skills this important role needs.
His first task will be to help ensure our £15m food waste fund redistributes surplus food that would otherwise be wasted to those most in need,” said Gove.
Key commitment to eradicating food waste
Selection of a food waste champion is a key commitment of government’s Resources and Waste Strategy launched in December, mandating businesses and manufacturers to pay the full cost of recycling or disposing of their packaging waste.
Ben and the Quintessentially Foundation in partnership with The Felix Project have initiated a government-backed initiative to divert up to £1 billion (US$1.27 billion) of surplus food to those in need.
The commitments follow the £15 million (US$19 million) pilot scheme to reduce food waste from retailers and food manufacturers, announced in October last year.
Another initiative is the US$636,501 (£500,000) Food Waste Reduction Fund that followed the funds awarded to eight charities across the country to help provide the essential resources needed to expand their important work tackling food waste.
“My new appointment will allow me to work with DEFRA and food retailers all over the country to help build out a nationwide strategy that will ensure surplus food is not wasted at the expense of those in our society that truly need it,” said Elliot.
His responsibilities include help implement food waste prevention policies outlined in the Resources and Waste Strategy, provide workable solutions on food surplus and waste issues.
In addition to advising Defra on proposals for the distribution of the £15 million food waste fund, he will motivate business leaders to tackle food waste from farm to fork.