Sustainable Development Training | Milan Food Policy

The Milan Food Policy

Actions and Innovations for Making Urban Food Systems More Sustainable and Inclusive

full video

Learning Objectives

Six key success factors

Accountability How to identify and assign roles and responsibilities. Prioritization How to distinguish and act on what is critically important. Execution Methods to ensure consistent results across the entire city-system. Measure and Monitor Identifying criteria to guide your decision-making process. Benchmark and replicate Moving from one-off projects to wider success. Optimization Uncover optimizations that make the whole food system more sustainable.

A Little About Milan

Located in northern Italy, Milan is the second-largest city in the country with a population of approximately 1,300,000 inhabitants.

Milan has always had a strong measure of control over its food system, including stewarding the high performing agricultural lands that are proximate to the urban center.

The Municipality of Milan decided to further develop and improve their food policy during the process of defining the Universal Exhibition, hosted in Milan in 2015. “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” was the theme.

Milan is working towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 — to cut 50% of its food waste by 2030. From its citywide household food waste collection program to its robust network of non-profits rescuing food and delivering it to people’s plates, Milan is taking key steps to address food waste.
04 sld2

Let’s Get Started!

Key terms and definitions

What is a food system? A food system gathers all the elements and activities that relate to the production, processing, distribution, preparation and consumption of food, and the outputs of these activities, including socio-economic and environmental outcomes. What is a “food policy”? A local food policy is a public action organized by a local authority in order to promote systemic change in the local food system, activating stakeholders and shareholders in order to coordinate the efforts towards the sustainability of food system against food waste, promoting local productions and healthy diets, as well as improving the environmental sustainability with impact on climate change. Andrea Magarini Coordinator of the Milan Food Policy In preparing for its Food Policy implementation, Milan launched an in-depth study of its entire food system. After the assessment was completed, they brought the information into a large public consultation. The City Council developed five priorities for its Food Policy:
  • 1. Access to healthy food;
  • 2. Food education;
  • 3. Sustainable food production;
  • 4. Fighting against food waste, and
  • 5. Promoting food system research.
Milan decided to cross monitor their progress against a suite of Sustainable Development Goal targets. For example, Milan is committing to SDG 12.3, cutting food waste by 50% by 2030.
Additional Resources

Accountability

How to identify and assign roles and responsibilities

Anna Scavuzzo Vice Mayor of Milan in Charge of Food Policy
  • Milan has a comprehensive and cross-sectorial governance structure to align city actions towards the optimization of their food system.
  • This structure is overseen by the Vice Mayor.
  • One of Milan’s secrets to success is to move from projects to policies, which sets the stage for replication and wider adaptation and scaling.
  • Milan made sure that its activities included the whole city-region, not just the city itself, an approach which is paying off.
07 sld3

Prioritization

How to distinguish and act on what is critically important.

Putting food and sustainability at the center of policy.

Big business wants to prioritize food waste too.

Carlo Mango Head of science and research area, Cariplo Foundation
  • Cariplo prioritizes an evidence-based methodology highly responsive to multiple stakeholders.
  • SDG 12.3, “By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses,provides an ambitious yet achievable target that everyone can align with.
  • The theme of food and rallying around a Global Goal like SDG 12.3 is also helpful in engaging with other cities and increasing opportunities for city-to-city knowledge exchange
Additional Resources

How to distinguish and act on what is critically important.

Giacomo Cavalli Business Development and Institutional Relations Manager,Seeds&Chips
  • One of the first global leaders to prioritize food systems was Barack Obama. His message was an inspiration for Milan and the many entrepreneurs who were trying to develop a food-related business in the city.
  • Guiding and prioritizing startups remains at the heart of Seeds & Chips’ programming because nurturing the future in a sustainable direction is key to the overall success of the city and its systems.
Additional Resources

Putting food and sustainability at the center of policy.

Ricardo Porro Chief Operating Officer, Cariplo Factory
  • Projects like Food Policy Hot Pot promote and sustain the activities of the Milan Food Policy through innovation.
  • Companies identify their food-related needs and the Hot Pot helps identify solutions to meet them.
Additional Resources

Big business wants to prioritize food waste too.

08 sld2

Execution

Methods to ensure consistent results across the entire city-system.

Methods to build an aware citizenship through education.

Andrea Calori Researcher, EStà Research Center
  • Milan’s initial food assessment was set up and executed as a systems inquiry.
  • Part of the process was to understand all of the private and public institutions where food plays a role in the life of the city.
  • EStà encourages the municipality to work both internally and externally. Internally the city is reorienting their own activities towards food system optimization. Externally they are providing a means, through policy, to facilitate outside actors (food banks, parishes, private actors, etc.) towards the same priorities.
Additional Resources

Methods to ensure consistent results across the entire city-system.

Chiara Pirovano Milan Food Policy Office
  • Milan has used their influence to develop educational tools and resources at multiple entry points across sectors they partner with, including schools, universities and research centers.
  • One of Milan’s goals is to help children develop a taste and appreciation for nutritious, healthy food - they do this directly through school lunches.
  • Milan also is working with the schools to teach children important skills and habits of properly sorting and processing their food waste.
Additional Resources

Methods to build an aware citizenship through education.

09 sld3

Measurement and Monitoring

Identifying criteria to guide your decision-making process.

The Urban Food Policy Pact Monitoring Framework

3 key levers to facing the food waste challenge

Andrea Magarini Coordinator of the Milan Food Policy Milan has a general approach to monitoring their food system and food waste that focuses on four dedicated indicators.
    1. Quantity of organic waste collected;
    2. Quantity of public events and campaigns focused on food waste;
    3. Number of related policies and public initiatives; and
    4. Quantity of food donated in the city.
Creating a food geography of the city facilitates a shared understanding and shows where actions from one part of the city can be shared and replicated in another.
Additional Resources

Identifying criteria to guide your decision-making process.

Marta Maggi Researcher, EStà Research Center
  • The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact and the FAO developed a Monitoring Framework to assess cities advancements on food policy issues. The city of Milan, together with 14 other cities, participated in the definition process of the indicators.
  • Data EStà uses to feed the monitoring framework are generated by both public and private sectors.
  • They have linked the Monitoring Framework indicators with corresponding Sustainable Development Goals - so they can simultaneously track progress on the SDGs.
Additional Resources

The Urban Food Policy Pact Monitoring Framework

Giulia Bartezzaghi Researcher, Food Sustainability Observatory
  • Milan partnered with their polytechnic institute to collect empirical and comparative research in order to support specific aspects of the food system policy and monitoring process.
  • There are three key levers to facing the food waste challenge:
    • Monitor and measure - have a clear and common definition of surplus food and food waste with an agreed-upon measurement system to track progress and monitor where, exactly, surplus and waste is occurring within the larger system.
    • Encourage innovation that is supported by effective management structures and good business models.
    • Facilitate collaboration - enable processes that bring multiple stakeholders together around a shared purpose.
Additional Resources

3 key levers to facing the food waste challenge

10 sld4

Replication and Networking

Moving from one-off projects to wider success.

Selected city practices from the Milan Pact Awards

How to join the Milan Food Policy Pact

33 additional good practices from the Eurocities Associaton

Vittoria Beria International Relations Director of Milan
  • City-to-city learning and exchange around the topic of food is an effective vehicle for city diplomacy and knowledge exchange.
  • Food is something that brings all people together - it’s a great organizing principle.
  • Improving the food system also improves the environment and addresses climate challenges.
  • Bringing data and cultural traditions together can provide a useful vehicle for larger transformations.
Additional Resources

Moving from one-off projects to wider success.

Filippo Gavazzeni Milan Pact Awards Coordinator
  • Cities are essentially living laboratories where the future will emerge.
  • Milan decided to help cities by creating a platform to share the most innovative food policy solutions: the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact.
  • The primary tool of the Pact is the Milan Pact Award. The Award supports the cooperation of cities with various levels of experience and knowledge.
  • The Award series is gathering hundreds of useful practices that are shared within the platform.
Additional Resources

Selected city practices from the Milan Pact Awards

Cecile Michelle Milan Urban Food Policy Pact Secretariat
  • The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact is now signed by nearly 200 mayors from around the world.
  • Cities can get inspired by the Framework of Action and choose freely which actions they want to use.
  • Members of the Pact gather once a year, and there are additionally regional forums that meet in between.
  • Any city can join the Pact. Normally the Mayor’s office contacts the secretariat and asks to be onboarded.
  • The city chooses a focal point of contact who oversees the day to day activities of the city related to the Pact.
  • If your city would like to join, please contact the Secretariat!
Additional Resources

How to join the Milan Food Policy Pact

Elisa Porreca Milan Food Policy Office
  • Milan chairs the Working Group Food of Eurocities Association.
  • This role is helping Milan share the experience and knowledge of the Milan Urban Food Policy, its challenges, and its successes.
  • The working group meets twice a year and gathers 51 cities around Europe.
  • The working group developed a report with 33 good practices developed specifically in European cities to fight food waste.
Additional Resources

33 additional good practices from the Eurocities Associaton

Optimizations

Uncover optimizations that make the whole food system more sustainable.

Food Distribution Turning food loss into healthy ingredients. Food Consumption Making sure the city’s most vulnerable people have food on the table. Food Redistribution Methods to ensure consistent results across the entire city-system. Food Sinks Identifying criteria to guide your decision-making process.
12 sld2

Food Distribution

Turning food loss in the field into a triple bottom line business

Religious organizations step up to feed people in need with donations and surplus food

Turning food loss in the field into a triple bottom line business

Bella Dentro Camilla Archi & Luca Bolognesi, Founders, Bella Dentro
  • Currently, up to 45% of perfectly edible food grown in the field is lost because of imperfection. This presents an attractive business proposition for Bella Dentro.
  • They have a simple business model. They go directly to food producers and buy their imperfect produce that would otherwise rot in the fields. They then bring this imperfect produce to Milan and sell it around the city for a profit through their small food truck.
  • The business has recovered 26 tons of food that would otherwise have been left in the field.
  • They plan to expand the business by developing other food products, such as jams and dehydrated fruits and vegetables.
Additional Resources

Religious organizations step up to feed people in need with donations and surplus food

Andrea Fanzago Food Insecurity Area, Caritas Ambrosiana
  • The church has set up a network of parishes that redistribute food to people in need on location in a “store” setting.
  • In addition to addressing hunger, Caritas supports the education of families about household budgeting and meal planning.
  • They have agreements with certain large retailers whereby they collect large surplus and then freeze and package for long term storage and redistribution.
13 sld2

Food Consumption

Zero food waste should also mean zero hunger.

Children + nutritious meals = a healthier society.

Zero food waste should also mean zero hunger.

Laura Anzideo QuBì: a recipe against children poverty
  • Poverty is not spread evenly throughout cities, it concentrates. Milan used data to understand where the concentrations are occurring so that they could target funds and actions to have the most impact.
  • A neighborhood approach is where the most impact is realized. QB is working at this level - through schools, churches, and neighborhood markets to help divert surplus food to needy families and children.
  • To be effective you need to meet people where they are to help them. For example, immigrant families can be supported by helping them prepare their traditional meals using different fresh ingredients found in their local environments.
Additional Resources

Children + nutritious meals = a healthier society.

Fabrizio De Fabritiis Board member, Milano Ristorazione
  • Milano Ristorazione prepares fresh daily meals for school children and frozen meals for the elderly, people with disabilities and people on welfare.
  • School meals are made as much as possible with regionally sourced ingredients and are developed to be both healthy and tasty.
  • Leftover food from the schools is managed in three ways:
      1. Over 100 schools coordinate with local food banks to redistribute excess food to local charities daily;
      2. Fruit is offered to children mid-morning as a snack which is going a long way to ensure that this food is not thrown away;
      3. “Doggy bags” with remaining leftover bread and fruit are offered to children at the end of the day to take home.
Additional Resources
14 sld3

Food Redistribution

Food redistribution nurtures bodies and promotes happiness.

A major supermarket chain adopts an anti-food waste policy.

Neighborhood food hubs pinpoint optimizations.

Food redistribution nurtures bodies and promotes happiness.

Alberto Picardo Founder, Recup
  • Citizens in Milan are forming community-based organizations that turn surplus and waste in the food system into meals with social benefits for citizens.
  • Recup is one example where food waste is diverted before reaching local dumpsters and redistributed to needy residents.
  • This redistribution of local food not only alleviates hunger but also creates opportunities to strengthen social bonds and increase the quality of life of residents.
Additional Resources

A major supermarket chain adopts an anti-food waste policy.

Alfio Fontana CSR Responsible, Carrefour Italia
  • Carrefour, one of the largest supermarket chains in the world, is working strategically to address food waste in its stores while helping raise awareness of what consumers can do to address food waste in the home.
  • In the store, Carrefour steeply reduces the price of an item that will soon be reaching its expiration date. Anything that is not sold is donated to a local food bank rather than thrown away.
  • Recently Carrefour adopted the SDG 12.3 target within their company - “By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.”
  • The company is also on the lookout for innovative ways to reach their goals. For example, they have an app where people can buy a “Magic Box” at a low price that contains surplus food.
Additional Resources

Neighborhood food hubs pinpoint optimizations.

Marco Magnelli Director, Banco Alimentare della Lombardia Milan is supporting the development of Local Food Waste Hubs to further divert food loss at the local level and directly target populations in need across the city. There are three main aspects to the food aid that Banco Alimentare provides:
  1. Retrieving surplus food from large companies (which is stored in a large warehouse outside of Milan and redistributed);
  2. Recovering surplus food from corporate and school canteens (kitchens) for direct meal delivery to soup kitchens;
  3. Recovering food from neighborhood markets daily that can be redistributed during the same day to local populations in need through participating nonprofits.
The initial results of these programs is very promising and the impact generated is both socially and environmentally beneficial, a win-win for the City and residents.
Additional Resources
15 sld2

Food Sinks

Milan’s integrated waste management system

Building back soil builds back planetary health.

Milan’s integrated waste management system

Cristina Fusco Milan Services Design Responsible, Amsa
  • Milan has developed an integrated waste collection and disposal system to recycle the largest possible portion of material and to produce electricity and heat through a waste to energy facility.
  • Benefits of their curbside waste collection include best quality of collected waste, limited street exposure of waste and positive effects on the appearance of the city.
Additional Resources

Building back soil builds back planetary health.

Andrea Di Stefano Special Projects Responsible, Novamont
  • Novamont is a biochemical company working to address bio-waste at the end of a product’s life cycle.
  • Bio-waste is an important factor in the fight against climate change as a source of compost to build back soils.
  • Novamont is working on solutions related specifically to the separation and collection of organic waste.
  • Novamont is collaborating with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to support the work on circular economy as it pertains to these sources to sink flows with organics.
Additional Resources
16 sld4

Quick Facts

Milan Food Policy Impact!

Enabling factors for the development of urban food policies.

Milan Food Policy and the SDGs

Ecocity Standards - Healthy and Accessible Food

Milan Food Policy Impact!

In 2018, Milan diverted 149,000 tons of organic waste from their landfill.
In 2018, Milan served 17,000,000 school meals using local ingredients.
Since 2017, 110 of 480 school canteens (kitchens) about 480) are diverting food waste.
Since 2018, 13 out of 94 Open Street Markets are diverting food waste.
Since 2019 local food waste hubs are saving and donating 60 tons of food per year.

Enabling factors for the development of urban food policies

  • Data, Monitoring and Learning
  • ‘Vertical’ Multi-Level Governance
  • ‘Horizontal’ City-Level Governance
  • Participatory Policy Process
  • Funding
  • Political Commitment
Additional Resources

Milan Food Policy and the SDGs

At the global scale, the Milan Food Policies are specifically relevant to three Sustainable Development Goals:

Ecocity Standards - Healthy and Accessible Food

The Milan Food Policy is in alignment with Ecocity Standard #10: Healthy and Accessible Food — Sufficient amounts of healthy and nutritious food are accessible to all and are grown, manufactured, distributed and recycled by processes which maintain the healthy function of ecosystems and do not exacerbate climate change. https://ecocitystandards.org/

Video Library - Learn More

Juicy nuggets of wisdom from the leaders of the Milan Food Policy Pact

Click Here

Congratulations! You have reached the end of the training module. There are more than two hours of video training in the full length interviews with the leaders of the Milan Food Policy. Click below to continue learning about sustainable development goals through food policy.

The Milan Food Policy

The Milan Food Policy Learning Objectives A Little About Milan Let’s Get Started! Accountability Prioritization Execution Measurement and Monitoring Replication and Networking Optimizations Food Distribution Food Consumption Food Redistribution Food Sinks Quick Facts the library of the full suite of videos