Tuesday 21 November 2017

Andrew Yaxley, CEO Tesco Ireland - My one big idea on climate change

Andrew Yaxley, Tesco, November 2011
Andrew Yaxley, Tesco, November 2011

One of my proudest acts as CEO has been to tackle food waste by working in partnership with FoodCloud, an Irish social enterprise that links businesses who have too much food with groups and organisations who don’t have enough.

As the first retailer in Ireland to announce a nationwide plan to address food waste in our business, we’ve built up a strong network of charities that we support around each of our stores through FoodCloud, and we also support Bia Foodbank with large scale surplus food donations from our distribution centres. The food we give guarantees that partnered charities and grassroots organisations benefit from significant cost savings, which they can then re-invest in essential programmes to support their underlying mission – such as provision of housing, educational programmes, essential equipment, counselling and provision of life skills.

One of the biggest things we hear back from our partner groups is that they don’t have the capacity to take and store more food donations even though they need them.   My One Big Idea would be that the Government should focus the Budget to support resources that will create the infrastructure to facilitate good food management.  Some charities would greatly benefit from having the ability to both store and freeze the food we have pledged to provide.

If incentives were in place to support capital investments of this type, we believe it would make a contribution to meeting Ireland’s climate change goals and also support those most in need in communities across Ireland.

If the Government was to think strategically with initiatives like this in the Budget, it would encourage more social enterprise, more food donations and provide supports to charities.  That would be a truly Irish, sustainable development goal that other countries could follow.

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