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Case Study: The Origins of FareShare

In this video, we from Paul Bowtell, who helped start FareShare. They save food destined for waste and transform it into meals for those in need.

FareShare is an organisation dedicated to saving “good food destined for waste and send[ing] it to charities and community groups who transform it into nutritious meals for vulnerable people”. In this video, we from Paul Bowtell, who was instrumental in founding FareShare.

Paul Bowtell is a Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) and full member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (MIEMA).

Working within and beyond industry, Paul identifies ways that companies can work to improve both their sustainability practice and engagement with local communities. He addresses risks and opportunities, and helps to develop strategies and policy with those involved.

In this case study, we see how Paul was instrumental in transforming UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s approach to food waste. When Paul worked for Sainsbury’s in the 1990s, he took his experience in environmental consulting and applied it to Sainsbury’s food waste issue. His job was to investigate ways to mitigate the costs and problems caused by food waste in the context of customer demands for food variety. The sector as a whole faced similar issues, so Paul was able to learn from other companies and see which options would work best for Sainsbury’s. Working with the charity partner Crisis to train staff on the operational aspects of access to and collection of food also taught Paul more about homelessness. He gained a greater understanding of the issues that cause and arise from the lack of a stable home.

Sainsbury’s and Crisis are two groups with different operational skills and expectations that required different types of management, and this work eventually led to the formation of FareShare.

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