2019 – Arash Derambarsh

On the theme Sustainable Food 

In 2019 Arash Derambarsh from France won the award.

With persistent work and an unfaltering commitment to the cause, Arash Derambarsh managed to make the French government pass a law prohibiting French supermarkets and restaurants from throwing away useable food. Instead of the food being discarded as in the past, it is now collected by charity organisations or so-called food banks and given to the poor. 

Mr Derambarsh is a lawyer and city councilor in the city of Courbevoie, France. After realising a huge system failure where tons of edible food was being thrown away while millions of people go hungry he collected 210 000 signatures in support of his proposal to prohibit supermarkets and other food outlets from throwing away edible food products. The issue was addressed in the French parliament, and in February 2016, Derambarsh’s legislative proposal was passed. Through this law, millions of meals are distributed annually by charities to people in need in France. 

The Jury's motivation

The food supply is not only fundamental to our survival, it also has one of the greatest impacts on our global environment. It also embodies one of the most difficult global paradoxes to solve –with a third of the food that is produced being discarded or wasted, while people go hungry.

Not only has this year’s award winner succeeded in highlighting this intricate paradox and fundamental injustice, but with his drive and action he has developed concrete measures entailing real change.Arash Derambarsh’s ideas, initiative and effort to reduce food waste have resulted in a change in the law in France prohibiting French food stores and restaurants from discarding or destroying food that cannot be sold. The law requires them to cooperate with charities or “food banks”instead, so that the food benefits those in need.

The UN’s Global Goals include halving global food waste throughout the food chain by 2030. To achieve this goal, a change of attitude is needed, not only at the consumer level, but also in terms of systematic changes such as the French law on food waste.

Arash Derambarsh’s work has inspired people around the world and helped raise the issue of food waste on the global agenda. He has shown by example that it is possible tomake a difference and to take concrete steps in the direction of sustainability in terms of food waste.

Learn more about Arash Derambarsh and his work through this mini documentary:
Winner 2019: Arash Derambarsh