In conjunction with the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste on September 29th, the Dubai Municipality held several educational workshops, activities, and worldwide awareness seminars. The municipality aimed to improve the quality of life for Dubai’s residents and visitors by raising public awareness about food waste and loss, changing current behaviours, and safeguarding and preserving both local and global environments. By applying best practices in sustainable production and consumption that support food security within the emirate, this coincides with the concepts of the circular economy and the quest for sustainable development.
H.E. Dawoud Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality, stated that the municipality’s efforts and events to reduce food loss and waste are part of the municipality’s mission and plan to reach the greatest levels of well-being and quality of life. This is accomplished by developing and implementing sustainable concepts and practises that are critical for preserving the resilience and sustainability of food systems, as well as their abundance and support. This is in line with Dubai’s food security plan, which seeks to diversify import sources, boost local production, reduce food loss and waste, and maintain food safety.
“Dubai Municipality hopes to significantly reduce the negative environmental effects of greenhouse gas emissions and the carbon footprint of the food and agriculture industry through such initiatives.” This aligns with the strategic initiative to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, which will provide new opportunities for sustainable development and economic progress, as well as solidify the country’s position as the first in the Middle East and North Africa to announce its goal of achieving climate neutrality, according to Al Hajri.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), food loss and waste exceeds 30% of worldwide produced food, according to Alia Al Harmoodi, Acting CEO of the Environment, Health, and Safety Agency. She mentioned that the municipality worked with the organisation to develop the campaign “Stop Food Loss and Waste for People and the Planet,” which aims to increase awareness about responsible food shopping and consumption. They have also worked with a number of commercial food-related organisations to improve consumption patterns and behaviours.
Global workshops and seminars
Dubai Municipality organised a global symposium to raise awareness about decreasing food loss and waste, with over 50 decision-makers from food institutions, public and academic authorities, and food institutions participating.
The lecture discussed global trends aimed at minimising food loss and waste, as well as the environmental impact and climate change repercussions of food waste.
The International Day of Food Loss and Waste was supported with workshops and educational programmes to raise awareness among the community and food institutions in Dubai of the need to prevent food loss and waste. Several schools organised these activities, which attracted over 5,000 children. The Municipality wished to increase public awareness of ecologically beneficial measures for decreasing food waste, promoting optimal food safety practises, and assuring environmentally friendly food production, storage, and consumption.
Guide for retail food companies:
The Dubai Municipality has produced a guide for retail food enterprises as part of its drive to promote public awareness about food loss and waste reduction. In addition to the guidance, they have given instructional materials to food importers and exporters to raise awareness of the problem. This effort aims to lay a solid basis for food safety by conducting proactive risk analysis and improving supply chain effectiveness.
The Municipality organised various educational and scientific initiatives through specialist seminars to reduce food loss along the supply and manufacturing chain and to minimise waste at food facilities and retail establishments. They also worked with hospitality and catering businesses to emphasise the necessity of turning food waste or by-products into higher-value products, which helps to improve the food supply chain.
It is worth noting that the Dubai Municipality works with recycling and waste treatment firms to collect approximately 4,000 tonnes of wasted food each year, which includes vegetables, fruits, and expired or inedible food items. These products are subsequently recycled into organic fertilisers. Significant efforts were made in the year 2023 alone, including the gift of 70.5 tonnes of food to the Emirates Food Bank, the recycling of over 297 tonnes, and the repurposing of 396.7 tonnes of food materials into sustainable alternatives. In addition, 29.21 tonnes of food waste were utilised as animal feed.