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Preventing and reducing food waste to reduce environmental impacts and to help reach 2030 climate targets

Expected Outcome:

In line with the European Green Deal priorities, the farm to fork strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system, and the EU's climate ambition for 2030 and 2050, the successful proposals will support R&I to prevent and reduce food waste[1]. They should therefore contribute to the transformation of food systems to deliver co-benefits for climate (mitigation and adaptation), biodiversity, environmental sustainability and circularity, sustainable food consumption, food poverty reduction and empowerment of communities, and thriving businesses.

Projects results are expected to contribute to all the following outcomes:

  • Reliable data on the environmental impacts related to food waste, in particular GHG emissions;
  • Better understanding of the food waste prevention efforts that will accelerate EU’s progress to reach climate targets and will help reduce environmental impacts (including on biodiversity) across the food supply chain;
  • Integration of actions related to food waste prevention/reduction into emission reduction instruments, national energy and climate plans and other relevant EU initiatives;
  • Contribution to the farm to fork objectives and to the Food 2030 priorities: nutrition for sustainable healthy diets, climate, biodiversity and environment, circularity and resource efficiency, innovation and empowering communities.

Scope:

Climate change and environmental degradation are recognised as the main challenges to tackle in the European Green Deal. Food waste prevention and reduction could contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, pollution reduction, better air quality, biodiversity preservation...

The 2030 climate target plan sets out to raise the EU’s ambition on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to at least 55% below 1990 levels by 2030.

Member States have prepared integrated national energy and climate plans (NECPs) to achieve their 2030 targets.

The Commission brought support and expertise to Member States in the elaboration of their NECP and will continue to do so by supporting the full implementation of the plans, and prepare their update due in 2023[2].

Key policies within the framework of the European Green Deal also include the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030, the farm to fork strategy, and the EU zero pollution action plan.

Proposals should address all the following points:

  • Provide reliable quantitative data for several Member States/Associated Countries on the environmental footprint of food waste, based on Life Cycle Assessments, and more specifically the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) method developed by the European Commission.
  • A specific focus on the following Environmental Footprint (EF) impact categories identified in the PEF method is required:
    • Climate change (main focus)
    • Land use
    • Water use
    • Resource use
    • Other relevant categories that could help assess the impacts on biodiversity.
  • Combined data for the entire food supply chain but also data for each stage of the food supply chain[3] are expected, including a focus on sorting, storage, logistics and waste treatment. A detailed analysis for relevant food products is also expected.
  • Concerning the climate change category in particular, provide estimates on the life cycle GHG emissions due to food waste. Potential double counting of avoided emissions should be analysed. If possible, these data would have to be compared to GHG reductions assumed by Member States in the NECPs – in order to enable measuring of potential impact from food waste prevention measures towards reaching the objectives of NECPs.
  • Elaborate different pathways of food waste prevention/reduction interventions and assess their potential for climate change adaptation/mitigation, reduction of pollution and preservation of biodiversity. The analysis should be carried out for several types of stakeholders.
  • Assess the potential for rebound effects due to food waste reduction[4].
  • Carry out mapping activities of relevant emission reduction and funding instruments and other EU initiatives in which food waste prevention/reduction could be well integrated.
  • Establish a set of recommendations on how to integrate food waste prevention/reduction in those instruments and initiatives (including NECPs).
  • Implement the multi-actor approach (see eligibility conditions) by conducting inter- and trans-disciplinary research and involving a wide range of food system actors (including possibly food start-ups).

Proposals should also build on past or ongoing research projects and ensure synergy with relevant initiatives. In particular, they should build on the work done by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre in support of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste[5] and be aligned with the Environmental Footprint method developed by the Commission. The possible participation of the JRC in the project would consist of gathering data collected in the projects into a consistent framework for modelling food waste. It will also ensure that the proposed approach will be compatible with existing databases for the assessment of environmental impacts and aligned with the Environmental Footprint method, helping translating results into policy relevant outputs.

Proposals should include a dedicated task, appropriate resources and a plan on how they will collaborate with other projects funded under this topic and any other relevant topic, e.g. by participating in joint activities, workshops, etc. Selected proposals under this topic will thus need to work together and adapt their initial work plan. Communication and dissemination activities should also be grouped and coordinated in a complementary manner.

This topic requires the effective contribution of SSH disciplines.

[1] Definition of food waste included in the Waste Framework DirectiveFood waste means all food as defined in Article 2 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2022 of the European Parliament and of the Council that has become waste.

[2] https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52020DC0564&from=EN

[3] The main stages of the food supply chain identified by the Commission in the Delegated Decision (EU) 2019/1597 establishing a common EU methodology to measure food waste: primary production; processing and manufacturing; retail and distribution; restaurants and other food services; households.

[4] e.g.: if households save money through reducing waste, they may use this additional income to purchase other products/services with potentially higher environmental impacts. e.g.: impact from reduction of food waste on energy generated from waste.

[5] https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/food-waste/eu-actions-against-food-waste/eu-platform-food-losses-and-food-waste_en

General Information

Call Type
EU Horizon Europe
Eligible Country/ies
EU + Horizon Europe associated countries
Call Identifier (if any)
HORIZON-CL6-2024-FARM2FORK-01-8
Expected Outcome or Impact
Expected Outcome:
In line with the European Green Deal priorities, the farm to fork strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system, and the EU's climate ambition for 2030 and 2050, the successful proposals will support R&I to prevent and reduce food waste[1]. They should therefore contribute to the transformation of food systems to deliver co-benefits for climate (mitigation and adaptation), biodiversity, environmental sustainability and circularity, sustainable food consumption, food poverty reduction and empowerment of communities, and thriving businesses.
Projects results are expected to contribute to all the following outcomes:
1. Reliable data on the environmental impacts related to food waste, in particular GHG emissions;
2. Better understanding of the food waste prevention efforts that will accelerate EU’s progress to reach climate targets and will help reduce environmental impacts (including on biodiversity) across the food supply chain;
3. Integration of actions related to food waste prevention/reduction into emission reduction instruments, national energy and climate plans and other relevant EU initiatives;
4. Contribution to the farm to fork objectives and to the Food 2030 priorities: nutrition for sustainable healthy diets, climate, biodiversity and environment, circularity and resource efficiency, innovation and empowering communities.
Target Groups
Research Institutes, Academia, Small- and Medium Enterprises, Industry, Non-government organisations, Start-Ups
Submission Deadlines
Single fixed deadline
(Next) Submission Deadline
22 February 2024
Type of Funding Instrument
Collaborative Projects / Consortia
Max. funding amount per project [EURO]
4,500,000 €
Overall budget for all projects [EURO]
9,000,000 €

Author Info

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Patric Gerö

Member since 2 years ago
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