GFN and Unilever Partnership: How Food Banking Can Help Unilever Win its “War on Waste”

The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) and Unilever recently signed a partnership agreement that will significantly advance the work of food banks around the world to fight hunger and reduce food waste. Unilever, a multi-national consumer goods company, is a strong advocate for sustainable development and environmental concerns. Fighting the “war on waste” is just one way the company is working to create brighter futures for all people. “This partnership is a great opportunity to address the issue of food waste, increase our social impact and help create a brighter future for the communities we operate in. The expertise and extended reach of GFN means we can scale up our efforts across all our markets and have a global impact,” said Rebecca Marmot, vice president global partnerships & the Unilever Foundation. “The Global FoodBanking Network is fortunate that Unilever recognizes the power of food banking to nourish people, strengthen communities and protect our environment,” said Lisa Moon, GFN’s president and CEO. “We look forward to collaborating with Unilever to help put their commitment to sustainability into action through our global network of food banks.” Supporting Food Banks Around the World The partnership with GFN is an extension of Unilever’s long-time commitment to supporting food banking. The organization has had a formal partnership with the European Federation of Food Banks (FEBA) since 2014. The agreement with GFN takes this commitment even farther. It encourages all Unilever geographies to partner with their local food banks and provide support in four areas:
  • Product donations (especially surplus product)
  • Employee volunteering
  • Promotional in-store campaigns
  • External communications to raise awareness of the issue of food waste
To help get things started, with the help of GFN, Unilever created a toolkit for employees on the partnership and on how to engage with food banks in their local community. Achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals Unilever’s corporate-wide commitment to sustainability starts at the very highest level. The company’s CEO Paul Polman was part of the UN High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Polman and fellow panel members were instrumental in developing recommendations for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (signed in September 2015). The 17 integrated, measurable goals were created to guide global development and actions to bring about positive, long-term change. They hinge on these three overarching goals: end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and fix climate change. Through this partnership, GFN and Unilever will address three key global goals:
  • Goal 2: Zero Hunger
  • Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
  • Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals
“It is unacceptable that USD $750 billion worth of food is wasted every year, contributing to 5% of global greenhouse gases, when just USD $80 billion would feed all those who go hungry,” said Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever. “I’m delighted that we are partnering with The Global FoodBanking Network to reduce waste in our supply chain and reach millions of people across the 30 countries in which GFN operates – all in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Together we can help tackle poverty and alleviate hunger for generations to come.” “We look forward to a long, successful partnership with Unilever. Working together adds power to our shared goals of fighting hunger, reducing waste and creating a better world for future generations,” said Moon. “We hope other organizations are inspired to get involved and support the work of food banks around the world.” Global Goals