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LONDON: The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the Sustainable Food Trust have launched a challenge for the food industry to create new or re-designed products using circular design principles that regenerate nature.

By transforming the way products are made, food businesses and retailers can play a crucial role in creating a circular economy for food where nature is regenerated, helping to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss.

“We know the problems. The current food system is a key driver of biodiversity loss and accounts for a third of global greenhouse gases. By applying the principles of circular design to our food system, we can create food that regenerates nature and tackles some of our most pressing global issues,” said Foundation chair, Ellen MacArthur.

With 150 participants so far including Unilever, John Lewis, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s Coca-Cola, Danone, Google, Nestle, the Foundation has announced £500,000 in new grant funding with a goal of new food designs available in supermarkets by the end of 2024.

"The world's industrial food system wasn't designed for resilience or sustainability – qualities we would require if we built it today,” explained Wendy Schmidt, president and co-founder of the Schmidt Family Foundation. “Instead, we've spent the last 100 years working for mechanical efficiency at low cost, often sacrificing quality and ignoring externalities.

“The consequences of this approach are contributing hugely to climate destruction while leaving many people around the world without access to good food. If we don't dramatically change the way we source, produce, distribute and discard food, we face a future with ongoing plastic pollution, a warming atmosphere, and an Ocean losing both the oxygen we breathe and the marine life half the human population depends on for its primary protein.”

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and his wife Wendy set up their organisation in 2006 to address sustainability issues and the responsible use of natural resources.
 
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