The overarching goal of Ms. Dräger de Teran’s work is the twin promotion of sustainable biomass cultivation and sustainable food consumption. This includes the food waste issue. The central theme of her work is to illustrate the consequences of our nutritional habits on our resources and the climate. This is particularly pertinent when it comes to food waste – both in private households and along the value chain. In her work, she aims to analyse various possible solutions and courses of action in order to reduce resource consumption and raise the level of awareness for sustainable food consumption.
In addition, Ms. Dräger de Teran has delved into a number of diverse projects at the intersection of agriculture and the environment, including on climate protection, water protection – especially the nitrogen issue – and biodiversity. Moreover, Tanja Dräger de Teran has set out in recent years to understand the sustainable land use impact of various government environmental-aid policies as well as laws and regulations in non-environmental fields.
From 2000 to 2005, Ms. Dräger de Teran worked at Ecologic, the Institute for European and International Environmental Policy. At Ecologic, she was responsible for executing a number of research projects on the Common Agricultural Policy that looked at the interactions between the EU’s eastward expansion, the Common Agricultural Policy, and conservation and environmental protection. From 1994 to 2000, Tanja Dräger studied geography at the Humboldt University of Berlin, with minors in biology and meteorology. In her studies, she focussed on sustainable resource use, environmental economics and environmental policy.
3 Questions to… Tanja Dräger de Teran
1. Which aspect of the food waste and loss problem is the most relevant for you?
From the WWF’s perspective, one central problem is that the amount of available value-chain data in Germany is still insufficient or that valid data is not accessible to the public. That’s particularly true for individual sectors along the entire food chain. The public can’t discern at which point along the value chain food is wasted and for what reasons. Most of the available data is self-reported by companies rather than collected by scientific institutions.
Another central problem, in our view, can be found in primary production and/or at the intersection of primary production and the processing industry and/or retail. Again, the amount of data is very much inadequate in this context. What amount of agricultural raw materials is not used for food, and why not? We believe that private-law norms and standards also play a key role. Here, too, a lack of transparency makes it difficult for interested members of the public to comprehend what’s going on. What are the prevailing norms, and what are their effects along the value chain?
2. And what should be done to improve things in this field?
In the WWF’s estimation, enhanced transparency would be a key tool for grasping how much food waste is generated at which places along the value chain – from primary producers to large-scale consumers – and why. With this in mind, we advocate for the inclusion of the “Prevention of Food Waste” topic in corporate (sustainability) reports.
In our opinion, companies have a duty to offer a broader assortment or alternative options in order to provide choices to consumers. Such measures could range from offering fruits and vegetables that don’t conform to norms to deciding not to sell the full product range until store closing to producing a variety of portion sizes for the food-service sector.
3. Which role does the Initiative SAVE FOOD play in fighting food losses and food waste in your opinion?
In order to effectively reduce food waste going forward, SAVE FOOD should actively campaign for greater transparency regarding the amount and causes of food waste and lobby for necessary adjustments of the regulatory framework. Moreover, we believe disseminating information about and awareness of successful real-world examples as far and wide as possible is another one of SAVE FOOD’s quintessential jobs.