HA NOI (VNS) — Over 200 international and domestic experts gathered in Ha Noi for discussions on how eco-innovation support sustainable food chains yesterday at the 15th European Forum on Eco-innovation, facilitated by the United Nations for Environment Programme (UNEP).
|Deputy Minister of Agriculture Le Quoc Doanh said that Viet Nam was honoured to be the first developing country to host the important event, which emphasised the use of resource-efficient and eco-innovative solutions in the food chain.— File Photo
Participants discussed the efforts of companies in Europe and Asia; looking to reduce waste, increase profitability and access new markets; following estimates from the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation that showed global food waste at approximately 1.3 billion tonnes per year, roughly a third of all food produced.
According to European Commission, food waste occured throughout the global food chain: from farmers, the food industry, to retailers, caterers and consumers.
The main causes were shown to be a lack of awareness, a lack of shopping planning, confusion about "best before" and "use by" labels.
Factors also included a lack of knowledge on how to cook with leftovers; overproduction, product and packaging damage; inadequate storage and inadequate packaging, said the European Commission.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture Le Quoc Doanh said that Viet Nam was honoured to be the first developing country to host the important event, which emphasised the use of resource-efficient and eco-innovative solutions in the food chain.
Nguyen Hong Long, regional co-ordinator of SPIN&Get Green Viet Nam, said that small-and-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the food sector were facing challenges in eco-innovation.
Long said limited capacity made it difficult for SMEs to accumulate necessary capital or highly-skilled staff, Long said, adding that there was limited access to finance, technology and market sources.
However, Long stressed the most difficult obstacle remained the business model, adding that competition between SMEs and those in the food sector, meant quality and delivery was being sacrificed for lower prices.
"It is important to research innovative ways to increase profit and more sustainable ways to develop, for SMEs," he said.
Janez Potocnik, Commissioner for the European Environment Commission, said participants were optimistic that international co-operation; innovative solutions to processing, packaging and retailing; and opportunities for businesses to partner, would open the door to new markets.
Arab Hoballah, Chief of UNEP's Sustainable Consumption and Production Branch, said the event would engage companies on what was required to develop a sustainable food supply chain. — VNS