China to Step up Efforts to Curb Food Waste

The Chinese government plans to strengthen legislation and create a “long-term mechanism” to curb waste in food production, purchase, storage, transportation, processing and especially consumption. This announcement by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee follows up on recent remarks by President Xi Jinping, in which he addressed potential national food security risks. These risks partly stem from the country’s total farmland area being relatively small considering China’s population of around 1.4 billion. In his remarks, President Xi called for greater efforts to reduce food waste through legislative and regulatory measures as well as through publicity and education to encourage thrift in the entire society. Thrift is considered a core traditional value in China and has been taken up as such in the Constitution as well as in recent legislation like the Agricultural Law and the Civil Code.

The issue of food waste has received increasing public attention as recent studies have shed light on its scale. According to the Report on Food Waste in Chinese Cities, which was published in 2018 by the Institute of Geographic Sciences and National Resources Research under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese customers waste an average of 93 grams of food per meal consumed in restaurants.

The new national campaign against food waste will build upon and strengthen earlier measures like the “Clean Plate Initiative,” which was launched in 2013 and encouraged consumers to not order excessive food and restaurants to offer smaller portions.

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Sino-German Environmental Partnership II

Project country
Political Partners
German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU); Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the People's Republic of China (MEE)
Implementation Partners
International Environmental Cooperation Office (IECO), MEE; China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED)
09/2017 – 10/2021

Since 2013, the Sino-German Environmental Partnership has supported bilateral environmental policy dialogue through the exchange of experience and advice on various specialist topics. Thereby, the project enhances institutional and individual capacities through training, the exchange of personnel, and knowledge transfer, to best prepare China for its future as a transformed “Ecological Civilization” and its path towards a “Beautiful China”. The partnership is overseen by the Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) of the People’s Republic of China. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is responsible for implementing the Sino-German Environmental Partnership, which is funded through the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of BMU. In September 2017, the Sino-German Environmental Partnership entered into its second phase, which will continue until 2021. Through its activities, the Sino-German Environmental Partnership supports its Chinese project partners in transforming the existing environmental management system into a holistic environmental governance system which involves actors from science, industry and civil society. The planned activities lead to an intensification of the German-Chinese strategic environmental dialogue. An enhanced exchange such as this will continue to positively impact China’s proactive ownership of global environmental and climate change responsibilities. This will support the achievement of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda.