In a departure from norms for the Holy Month of Ramadan, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, MoCCAE, hosted an upcycled food iftar utilising food that would have otherwise been wasted if it was not consumed during this event for high-level public and private sector officials.
The iftar was held in partnership with food tech company, Winnow, and leading UAE-based global property developer, Emaar.
The creative healthy and tasty iftar dishes, for example, featured underutilised cuts of meat and overripe fruits, sending out a powerful message to local and global communities to prioritise judicious food consumption and eliminate food wastage.
Highlighting the idea behind the unique event, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, pointed out that the Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, of the United Nations reported that roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year approximately 1.3 billion tonnes is either lost or wasted. In the UAE, food wastage costs the national economy around AED13 billion annually.
Dr. Al Zeyoudi said, “Today, I am pleased to reaffirm the UAE’s commitment to meeting the global target to reduce food loss and waste by 50 percent by 2030 as per the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 12 that underscores sustainable consumption and production. As part of this priority, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is working closely with local authorities and the private sector to reduce food loss through the production and consumption cycle.
“I am also pleased to announce that UAE-based hospitality companies are ready to take on the challenge to reduce food waste and are pledging tonight to save one million meals by end-2018. This target will be increased to two million meals in 2019 and three million meals in 2020. Companies that are already onboard this noble mission include Emaar, Majid Al Futtaim and Rotana. I invite others ready to participate in this pledge to sign-up throughout this evening and beyond.”
Olivier Harnisch, Chief Executive Officer of Emaar Hospitality Group, said, “This is a remarkable initiative that not only underlines the UAE’s commitment towards a sustainable future but is also a tangible step in preventing food wastage. The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment’s focus on helping achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 12 serves as an inspiration for every section of the community, especially for the hospitality sector that can lead the change through measures that promote the judicious use of food resources. At Emaar Hospitality Group, we are honoured to be partnering in this event, and will continue to promote sustainable food management across all our hotels.”
Marc Zornes, Co-Founder and CEO of Winnow, said, “The hospitality sector in the UAE is spearheading the global fight against food waste. We are incredibly proud of the fantastic results the chefs partnering with Winnow have achieved. These pioneers have proved that it is possible to do the right thing for both business and the planet. However, we are really just getting started, and we look forward to scaling our impact with our partners as we work towards an ambitious target of saving over one million meals a year from the bin.”