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French food waste hero is the winner of WIN WIN - Gothenburg Sustainability Award

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Arash Derambarsh. Foto: Eugenie de Lozada.The winner of 2019's WIN WIN Gothenburg Sustainability Award is the French politician and lawyer Arash Derambarsh, who has enforced a new law which prevents grocery stores and restaurants in France to throw away food. Thanks to the new French law, the food that was previously thrown away now goes straight to charity organisations and so-called foodbanks*.

The United Nation's global goals for sustainable development include cutting the global food waste by 50% until 2030. To achieve the goal, both consumer attitude change and large-scale system changes are required. The new French law that enables a more circular food supply is a step in the right direction to achieve the goal.

Arash Derambarsh has for a long time been engaged in the food waste issue – that thanks to the French food culture has attracted a great deal of attention in the country. When Arash managed to get 21,000 signatures for his proposition to legislate against the food stores' destroying of edible food, the matter was raised in the French Parliament and in February 2016 the legislation against food waste was adopted.

"It is a great honour for me to receive the WIN WIN Gothenburg Award, but my person does not matter. What is important is the law against food waste that homeless people, people in poverty and the invisible Middle Class can benefit from. I appeal the European Union, as well as every country in the world: Adopt a similar law in your countries to finally put an end to this social, environmental and economic nonsense. In France, thanks to this law, over 10 million meals are distributed annually by charities to people in need. This represents 22% growth of food donation. It is our duty to stop food waste in order to end poverty and fight for our planet", Mr Derambarsh says.

Motivation by the WIN WIN jury: "Arash Derambarsh’s efforts have inspired people around the world and have helped to put the issue of food waste on the global agenda. His work shows that it is possible to make a difference and take concrete steps in a sustainable direction when it comes to the wasting of food".

The WIN WIN Gothenburg Sustainability Award was founded in 2000. The award is a collaboration between 13 partners, including the City of Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology and University of Gothenburg. The prize ceremony 2019 will take place at GöteborgsOperan on 31 October. 

*A foodbank is a non-profit, charitable organisation that distributes food to those who have difficulty purchasing enough to avoid hunger.

Photo: Eugenie de Lozada