Expo City Dubai pledges to minimise food waste


October 18, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau

Aerial view of Expo 2020 Dubai (Photo by Dany Eid/Expo 2020 Dubai)

Expo City Dubai and the National Food Loss and Waste Initiative (ne’ma) have joined forces to tackle challenges in food production, consumption and waste through pilot projects and scalable solutions. The two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on World Food Day (October 16), outlining how they will exchange knowledge, share best practices and test ideas to expand existing interventions, such as the pioneering Food Rescue Programme piloted during Expo 2020 Dubai and retained under Expo City.

The collaboration will engage Expo City’s diverse community to drive systemic behavioural change across the entire food value chain, encouraging responsible production and consumption, championing circularity and testing new ideas that can be replicated and developed nationwide for maximum contribution to the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy 2051.

“Expo City Dubai is a blueprint for sustainable urban living, and tackling food loss and waste is inextricably linked to our commitment to decarbonisation. Overcoming challenges such as food security cannot be done alone, and as an innovation-driven city home to an engaged community of businesses, residents and visitors, collaboration is part of our DNA,” said Sumaya Al Ali, Vice President, Government Partnerships, Expo City Dubai.

“Our partnership with ne’ma will support our joint, sustainable progress through new, local food solutions and food waste-related innovations, positively influencing our food and beverage vendors, driving changes in consumer behaviour and instilling practices that will sustain future generations.”

As part of its sustainability strategy, Expo City is committed to supporting solutions that give everyone access to sufficient safe and nutritious food in a sustainable manner. It has also signed the ne’ma pledge to tackle food loss and waste and is encouraging the community to support and contribute to the UAE 2030 reduction Food Loss and Waste targets.

“Ahead of COP28 and beyond, the ne’ma and Expo City Dubai teams have a unique opportunity to demonstrate to the entire world that the food waste problem can be solved through collaboration, applying a holistic approach that includes utilising innovation and technology and proven best practices to create efficiency and drive behaviour change,” added Khuloud al Nuwais, ne’ma Secretary General and Chief – Sustainability, Emirates Foundation. “ne’ma will work with Expo City to build capacity and apply key ‘nudges’ that support increasing awareness on food loss and waste and transforming behaviours that lead to waste into more positive habits. This collaboration is an opportunity to scale the impact of our step-by-step guide across the many food service providers at Expo City.”

The agreement builds on Expo City’s initiatives to minimise food waste and the previous collaboration with ne’ma, including the Food Rescue Programme, which utilises a technology that automates the food rescue process, connects donors to charities and communities in need and tracks the environmental impact of all donations. During the six months of the World Expo, more than 93,000 meals were served to those in need, 93 million litres of water were preserved and approximately 90,000 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) diverted. Its impactful implementation during Expo 2020 prompted the exploration of a nationwide adaptation, which ultimately formed part of ne’ma’s approach to closing the loop in support of a circular economy by diverting food waste from landfill.

Established in March 2022, ne’ma is a collaboration of Emirates Foundation and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.

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