Circular food procurement

Empowering local authorities to ensure that food bought and served across council services is healthy, climate- and nature-friendly, and never wasted.

Local authority Working Group

Action on food can help to tackle many of today’s biggest health, environmental, economic, social and political challenges, including climate change. Food accounts for almost 10% of London’s consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions, because of the kinds of food we eat, how and where that food is produced, and the amount of it that is wasted. Many Londoners are also increasingly suffering from food poverty, with an estimated 1.5 million adults experiencing low or very low food security.

London’s local authorities are at the forefront of efforts to shift to a low carbon, healthy and fair food system in London. They recognise that they have a key role to play by making the food bought and provided across council services (including in schools, early years settings, and social services) more sustainable, healthier, and higher quality and wasting less of it, whilst ensuring value for money for their contracts. With food prices soaring around the world and at home and many Londoners suffering from food poverty amidst the current cost of living crisis, ensuring access to healthy, climate- and nature-friendly food for their communities is ever more urgent.

As part of London Councils’ One World Living programme to reduce the climate impact of London’s food system, ReLondon, the London Borough of Hackney and Sustain are convening a Working Group for local authorities to:

  • Collaborate on developing a consistent city-wide commitment to making council-bought meals better for planetary and human health.
  • Support local authority officers to ensure that food bought and served across council services is healthy, climate-and nature-friendly, sourced from sustainable food systems, and never wasted.
  • Facilitate sharing of good practice to help London’s local authorities to learn together and inspire each other.
  • Provide a forum where bottlenecks for progress can be brought to light and practical solutions shared.

A pan-London food purchasing commitment has been developed over the past year by ReLondon, London Councils’ One World Living Programme and Sustain, in consultation with 21 local authorities that are members of London’s local authority Circular Food Procurement Working Group.

All London’s local authorities are invited to sign the commitment which establishes a common and minimum level of ambition for local authorities in London to improve the environmental impacts of the food they serve and reduce the amount wasted, whilst ensuring value for money for their contracts.

A draft toolkit that provides local authorities with practical implementation support to reduce food waste and reduce the environmental impacts of food served across council services is available to Working Group members for your feedback and consultation – your inputs will help to shape the final version and ensure it is a useful resource for all. Please click here to request a draft consultation copy of the toolkit.

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