Dr Carrie Bradshaw provides evidence to the UK government on mandatory food waste measurement and reporting

The evidence was submitted to Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

The School of Law’s Dr Carrie Bradshaw has submitted evidence to the Government’s consultation on mandatory food waste measurement and reporting. Her response argued that mandatory food waste reporting is a ‘necessary, but not sufficient’ measure to tackle food waste.  

While it is true that ‘you cannot manage what you don’t measure’, it does not follow that ‘what gets measured gets managed’. Dr Bradshaw’s evidence highlighted how measurement/reporting is not by itself a food waste prevention measure, while also pointing to the limits to what voluntary action on food waste alone can achieve. She urged the government to also use its powers to implement an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regime for food waste and tackle unfair trading practices that drive food waste in the supply chain. Dr Bradshaw’s published research is the first to recommend EPR for food waste and also provides suggestions for the use of supply chain powers.   

In the absence of more robust regulation, Dr Bradshaw recommended a mandatory narrative reporting obligation to encourage action to reduce food waste, while highlighting the importance of robustly measuring food waste on farms. By mandating the separate reporting of edible and inedible food waste, government could also take the opportunity to rebalance subsidies that divert perfectly edible surplus food to recycling.