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Khuloud Hasan Al Nuwais, Chief Sustainability Officer of Emirates Foundation and ne’ma Committee Secretary-General

Abu Dhabi: ne’ma, the UAE National Food Loss and Waste Initiative, announced the launch of its nationwide Ramadan campaign, “Count Your ne’ma” (Count Your Blessings), which aims to raise awareness and encourage actionable steps to reduce food loss and waste during the holy month.

According to ne’ma’s recent National Household Survey, 85 percent of participants recognise food waste as a crucial national issue.

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ne’ma the National Food Loss and Waste initiative- a partnership between Emirates Foundation and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, aims to inspire individuals to be more considerate and mindful when it comes to food consumption, emphasising the importance of reducing waste and stockpiling and embracing sustainability.

Sustainable practices

The month-long campaign aligns with the values of Ramadan and encourages reflection and the cultivation of good habits, including meal planning, serving smaller food portions, storing food properly and sharing untouched food with those in need.

Key elements of the “Count Your ne’ma” campaign include behaviour change initiatives to drive new social norms and sustainable practices on the individual level, supported by the collaboration with the hospitality industry partners, regulatory bodies, and food banks to distribute imperfect surplus fresh produce to support communities, prevent food waste, and contribute to food security.

This mission aims to rescue surplus produce that would otherwise go to waste, redirecting it to benefit communities while simultaneously promoting a circular economy by reducing food waste.

ne’ma invited everyone to support this vital aspect of the campaign to make a meaningful impact on both society and the environment.

Building on the commitment of the hospitality sector, over 270 sector partners are now registered and reporting data on the ne’ma Data Hub. These partners include leading hotel chains Hilton, Accor, Rotana, Marriott, and Jumeirah, among others.

'Together Blessings Last'

The application of ne’ma’s behavioural nudges has been recorded since 2022, achieving up to 62 percent of food waste reduction.

ne’ma aims to continue identifying opportunities and best practices to reduce food waste in hospitality settings, while improving diner satisfaction.

This year, ne’ma and the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Safety Authority (ADAFSA) are strategically collaborating on the “Together Blessings Last” Ramadan trial for the hospitality sector.

The trial aims to measure and report actual food waste levels during Ramadan and identify Ramadan-specific behaviours to establish recommendations for years to come.

By highlighting sector-specific Ramadan challenges and best practices, a comprehensive trial report will be published, and industry champions dedicated to food waste reduction recognised.

Call to action

“Count Your ne’ma” is a call to action for individuals, businesses, government entities, and communities to unite and make a difference. Through simple changes in behaviours and mindful consumption practices, we can all play a role in ending food waste,” said Khuloud Hasan Al Nuwais, Chief Sustainability Officer of Emirates Foundation and ne’ma Committee Secretary-General.

“ne’ma reflects the UAE leadership’s vision and call to action to reduce food waste, encourage social responsibility, and promote sustainable practices. As we observe Ramadan, we must be mindful of the significant food waste issue that’s often associated with the holy month. Our ‘Count Your ne’ma’ campaign reminds us of our collective responsibility to reflect and replace existing wasteful habits with others that are more aligned with the Emirati values of moderation, consideration, and mindfulness. We invite everyone to join our movement and work towards making the UAE a country where no food is wasted because we can all contribute to this ambitious effort,” Al Nowais concluded.

Food loss and waste have significant economic and social impacts, but it also presents a significant environmental challenge. Globally, about eight percent of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are linked to food waste.

In 2023, ne’ma diverted over 1 million kg of food from landfills, saving 2.4 million kg of CO2 emissions as a result. Hundreds of organisations have signed the ne’ma pledge, committing to proactively work to reduce food waste.