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Innovation to Tackle Food Waste

Main Stage




  • Justin Kamine underscored the fact that food waste is an immense and colossal problem. Every year, food waste accounts for some $218 billion in lost revenue and some 21% of total landfill usage. Were food waste to be a country, it would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter. 

“[Developing] technologies that are economically viable, socially progressive, environmentally sound, and truly doing it at scale is what quite frankly needs to happen,” Justin Kamine

  • Sam Kass highlighted the desperate need for a more efficient food system. Fortunately, the issue of food waste is rapidly gaining traction from governments, businesses, and the public. Most individuals have a deep emotional connection to the food they consume and feel immense guilt upon wasting food. 
  • KDC Ag is pioneering an economically viable system whereby supermarket food waste—some 200 tonnes each day—is upcycled and repurposed into a nutritious, healthy, and safe feed for cattle and pets. 
  • Kamine and Kass agreed that the messaging that we use to communicate about climate change has been largely ineffective in encouraging the public to care about the issue. Messaging has been all too abstract—“2 degrees warmer,” for example, is not palpable enough. Kass opined that emphasizing the close relationship between food—an inherently relatable and emotional topic—and climate change may be a powerful way to galvanize the public into action. Moreover, Kass stressed that policymakers and private sector innovators need to make it easier for consumers and citizens to be engines of environmental progress. 
  • Young people 35 and under, explained Kass, particularly care about climate issues and have placed themselves on the frontlines of the push for change.

“For all of us trying to push the envelope, especially from the business side: if we’re not really uncomfortable, if we’re doing some things and it feels good and we feel good about ourselves, then we’re not anywhere close to doing enough,” Sam Kass






Key takeaways & next steps:

  • Kamine and Kass both underscored the need for bold, fundamental action on climate change. The consequences of failing to take action will be catastrophic. 
  • The private sector has the potential to drive sweeping environmental change. Companies must step up to meet the needs of environmentally-savvy, socially-conscious consumers.


Session Speakers