Reduction of food losses between production and retail in Germany: Impact assessment of regulatory, cooperative and market-based policy instruments
The United Nations, the EU and Germany are pursuing the goal of using food less wastefully. But which political options can make this process positive?
A quarter of the water used in agriculture worldwide, a land area as large as China and 4.4 gigatons of CO2 equivalents: This is how the FAO and the Food Loss and Waste Protocol quantify the annual resource footprint that results solely from the production of all disposed and lost food. National governments are adopting different political approaches to reduce these negative environmental and climate impacts.
In this doctoral project, we examine three environmental policy instruments for reducing food losses between agricultural production and retail. Although the majority of all food waste in Germany can be attributed to private households, a considerable 30% is accounted for in the value chain stages before wholesale and retail. The uncertain amount of pre-harvest losses is not even included.
Previous scientific work has shown that losses at the early stages of the supply chain are mainly due to economic and political causes. These include unequal power relationships in the market, a lack of cooperation between the actors in the supply chain, economic risks, market price fluctuations and quality standards. In this project, distinct policy instruments will be examined to determine the extent to which they influence the respective causes and could thus contribute to reducing food losses between production and retail in Germany.
Scientists, political decision-makers
In this research project, we investigate three environmental policy approaches:
Our surveys and evaluations are based primarily on methods of empirical social science. We analyze the prohibition of unfair trading practices and the instrument of the dialogue forums with the help of a quantitative survey of producers and interviews with experts from the dialogue forums. The evaluation of potential market-based instruments is based on a supplementary case study.
The project results should highlight the advantages and disadvantages of distinct environmental policy instruments for reducing food losses at the first stages of the value chain. They can thus serve as the scientific basis for corresponding political decision-making processes.
10.2019 - 9.2023
Project status: ongoing