Global Activism: One-third of the World's produced food is wasted

April 3, 2014

Photo credit: Ken Jones Photography
Food banks rescue food that is non-saleable, yet perfectly edible and nutritious, and distribute it to hungry people through feeding organizations. Jeff Klein, President and CEO of The Global FoodBanking Network, assesses a produce delivery in a food bank warehouse.

More than 1.3 billion tons of food goes to waste every year. That’s one third of the total amount of food produced worldwide. The Global Foodbanking Network is working to turn that waste into opportunities to feed the hungry. Jeffrey D. Klein, president and CEO of the Global Foodbanking Network, and Bill Rudnick a board member and 25 year veteran of food banking ,will join us to talk about their work.

Jeffrey speaks on critical role of one FoodBanking Network partner:

"I have said this on many occasions when asked about DLA Piper’s pro bono work for The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN). It’s a strong statement about our close relationship, DLA Piper’s generous support on many, many levels. Beyond that, it’s a statement about the depth of passion DLA Piper brings to our shared mission of fighting hunger around the world.

A Humanitarian Solution to Two Critical Issues: Hunger and Food Waste

GFN is an international non-profit organization dedicated to alleviating hunger and reducing food waste. We do that by creating, supplying and strengthening food banks and national food bank networks around the world, in countries outside the US. Currently, we support existing and developing food banks in more than 25 countries, home to more than one-third of the world’s nearly one billion undernourished people.

Food banking is, in a sense, the business of logistics with a very important end result. We find and “rescue” perfectly nutritious, edible food that is non-saleable and get it to where it can be used to feed hungry people. It’s a simplistic explanation, but it’s really the core of what we do.

Many people are shocked when they learn that one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted so it never feeds a hungry person. We think this is a tragedy from a moral standpoint. It’s also a huge issue for the environment because food in landfills breaks down very quickly and creates greenhouse gas in a ratio that’s 20% greater than carbon dioxide. Food banking turns this problem into a solution to the problem of hunger.

DLA Piper Helps Turn a US Idea into a Global Reality

DLA Piper played a pivotal role in the creation of GFN and has remained an invaluable supporter of our mission and organization from the very beginning. In fact in the late 1990s, Bill Rudnick, a partner at DLA Piper, helped conceptualize the idea of global food banking with Bob Forney, who was the CEO of Feeding America at the time.

Bill had been actively involved with food banking in the US for a decade and realized the need for a global solution to problems of hunger and food waste. Bob, Bill, and a development team began working with food banking associations in Canada, Mexico, and Argentina to develop the global food banking model. In 2006, DLA Piper attorneys officially incorporated GFN and Bill became the founding Chairman of the Board.

Bill remains a member of the GFN board and stays involved from a professional and personal standpoint. Here is a story that shows how Bill and DLA Piper go the extra mile for GFN…

This year Bill joined a group of DLA Piper attorneys on a five-day, 364 mile bike ride through the Pyrenees before a global partners meeting. Always thinking of GFN, Bill turned this adventure into a fundraising opportunity for our organization. He completed the journey and exceeded his fundraising goal thanks to many DLA Piper staff and friends who contributed in support of Bill and his cause. Check out his fundraising page to learn more about Bill’s Ridiculous Ride to Fight Global Hunger.

Insightful Legal Support around the World

Since the very beginning, DLA Piper has worked tirelessly and enthusiastically with us helping us grow into a leading hunger fighting organization. They have supported our work and that of individual food banks in more than 20 countries and have helped us create food banks in places such as South Africa, India, Israel, and Hong Kong.

GFN projects are supported by New Perimeter, a subsidiary of DLA Piper that brings US Style pro bono work to international projects. What sets this legal team apart is that while they bring a depth and breadth of legal skills (in a variety of practice areas) they also bring sensitivity and deep knowledge of the issues surrounding the practice of food banking.

Food banking is different in every country based on the legal and political environments, the culture and the nature of the economy, and the food system. For example, the tax benefits for those who provide food or other donated items are different country to country. In some countries, businesses receive a charitable tax deduction for donations, in others there is no deduction, and in other countries businesses must actually pay a gift tax for the donation.

Along with their insightful international legal advice, DLA Piper donates office space in the Chicago office allowing us to do our work day in and day out. It’s another show of generosity and a demonstration of our close relationship. We wouldn’t exist without DLA Piper. We also wouldn’t be able to continually grow and expand to bring more food to more people around the world.

Thanks DLA Piper for making it all possible."