New Harvard Research Takes Aim at Global Food Donation Laws and Policies to Address Food Waste, Hunger, and Climate Crisis

In advance of the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste, Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic shares policy recommendations designed to decrease food waste and support food donation in Indonesia and Nigeria.

Ahead of the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste, the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) and The Global FoodBanking Network announced new analyses on food donation laws and policies in Indonesia and Nigeria and recommendations designed to help reduce food waste, address food insecurity, and combat climate change. The research and recommendations are the most recent findings of The Global Food Donation Policy Atlas, which maps laws and policies affecting food donation around the world.

One-third of the world’s food is lost or wasted each year, yet as many as 828 million people are facing food insecurity. This devastating mismatch of surplus, edible food and people experiencing hunger is seen in countries around the world.

In Indonesia, about 8% of the population is unable to meet their nutritional needs while 48 million tons of food is either lost or wasted annually. In Nigeria, about 44% of the total population is moderately or severely food insecure while about 40% of food produced is lost after harvest. Not only would redirecting safe, surplus food to food banks address critical hunger-related needs, but it would also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by food decomposing in landfills.

The Global Food Donation Policy Atlassupported by Walmart Foundation, identifies existing laws and policies that support or hinder food recovery and donation and offers recommendations for strengthening policy frameworks. The recent research on Indonesia and Nigeria are the two most recent countries to be featured in the project, and were produced in partnership with in-country food banks, including Food Cycle and Scholars of Sustenance in Indonesia and Lagos Food Bank in Nigeria. The analyses featured in the project are encapsulated in an interactive atlas tool that allows users to compare policies between 18 countries participating in the project.

“We are thrilled to build on our Global Food Donation Policy Atlas by sharing findings and recommendations on food donation laws and policies in Indonesia and Nigeria,” said Emily Broad Leib, clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School and faculty director of the FLPC. “Our recommendations, developed in partnership with in-country experts and stakeholders, identify significant opportunities for global leaders to confront deeply challenging problems. In Indonesia, Nigeria, and around the world, we can feed people experiencing hunger, reduce food loss and waste, and help mitigate climate change by implementing key policy solutions identified through the project.”

“An estimated 702-828 million people are facing hunger globally, and that number is likely to rise as food price spikes, supply chain issues, and climate change continue to strain our food systems,” said Lisa Moon, president and CEO of The Global FoodBanking Network. “Food banks help ensure more people have access to food while also reducing food loss and waste. Strong food donation policies are absolutely critical to this work—they help food banks serve their communities in the most effective and efficient way.”

“Public policy relating to food recovery and donations is complex and varies across countries making it hard to improve how surplus food gets to communities that need it,” said Eileen Hyde, senior director for community resilience at “The recommendations coming out of the Global Food Donation Policy Atlas are crucial in overcoming barriers to food access, and the Walmart Foundation is pleased to support this great work that seeks to accelerate effective and sustainable solutions.”

Atlas project research is available for Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. An interactive map, Legal Guides, Policy Recommendations, and Executive Summaries for each country are available at

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