Swiss food and drink company Nestlé has joined a project launched by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to develop a circular economy solution for the existing food system.

Based in the UK, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is a charity organisation, which aims to inspire a generation to re-think, re-design and build a positive future through the framework of a circular economy.

The launch of the three-year Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s food initiative follows the release of its report ‘Cities and Circular Economy for Food’, at the World Economic Forum that took place in January.

According to the report, the food system requires a fundamental redesign in order to meet the dietary needs of a growing global population, while restoring biodiversity and addressing the climate crisis.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation announced that it will work with companies, including Nestlé, Danone, Mizkan, Novamont, Veolia, and Yara, as well as a community of participant cities to develop circular economy solutions to address issues in the food system.

The foundation added that the food initiative will develop solutions based on three principles.

The first principle includes the sourcing of food grown regeneratively and locally where appropriate. The second principle focuses on making the most of food by designing a cycle so that the by-products from one enterprise can help to improve soil health. The third principle aims to design and market healthier food products.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation Food initiative lead Dr Clementine Schouteden said: “By joining forces in this way, cities, and the businesses and people in them, can transform the global food system. We can grow food in ways that support ecosystems instead of damaging them.

“Food would be sourced locally when it makes sense, and we would make the most of it, avoiding edible waste and using organic by-products to improve soil health.

“This is a unique opportunity to create a system which helps to tackle the climate crisis, restore biodiversity, improve human health, and reconnect people with their food while creating new business opportunities.”

The project is supported by the Philanthropic Partner Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Additionally, the foundation will lead major food system projects in London, New York, and São Paulo to demonstrate how a circular economy vision for food can be achieved at a larger scale.