This program is the first food waste program of its kind in the region.
It is based on the four pillars of engage, prepare, implement and celebrate (EPIC).
Thriving Solutions, a Dubai-based start-up dedicated to developing innovative solutions to advance food and nutrition security, has created a unique flagship service named EPIC. Targeting both individual companies and municipalities, the EPIC program is designed to eliminate waste loops within the food value chain and help organizations begin their journey towards a circular business model.
EPIC, which stands for Engage, Prepare, Implement and Celebrate, works by engaging every level of an organisation to measure its waste, identify hotspots, brainstorm and develop a customised action plan, and then implement a long-term change program. At every step, EPIC will build capacity and celebrate successes and milestones, both within the organization and wider society. The EPIC program is available as EPIC Companies for individual businesses and EPIC Cities for municipalities and local governments.
EPIC has been devised by Thriving Solutions, a boutique social enterprise founded in Dubai by three Arab women. An all-inclusive additional layer to the service has been curated in partnership with two other local start-ups called EPIC+. EPIC+ enables institutions to not only reduce food loss and waste but also to calculate associated carbon emissions. This service collects, categorizes and measures organic waste while diverting it from landfills to create compost and also provides opportunity for earning carbon credits.
The first of the two local start-ups are elementsix, a Dubai-based carbon management firm offering niche emission reduction solutions, environmental commodities brokering, carbon management strategies and offsetting. The second is The Waste Lab, a women-owned, impact- and data-driven start-up that aims to create an opportunity for every food scrap to become an opportunity rather than a burden on our environment and society.
Seta Tutundjian, founder and CEO of Thriving Solutions, believes the EPIC program can address the pressing need in the Middle East for food system management and increased food security, commenting: “The Arab region is the most water stressed region in the world, coupled with limited arable lands and harsh climatic conditions. Its dependency on food imports is high, and most probably will continue to be high in the foreseeable future. Having approximately 44 percent of our food lost or wasted is a crime against our economy and natural resources.”
She added: “Making the transformation to a circular food economy is a process that needs to be evidence-based and approached systematically involving all stakeholders. It requires building awareness of the issues and creating champions of change. We also need to establish the required skill base that can support this transition and introduce regulations and policies that support it. It is a long-term undertaking, but much needed. We are greatly encouraged by the launch of the Ne’ma initiative, which is a pioneer in the region and embodies the visionary approach on the country’s leadership. We are very excited that our services to municipalities and companies directly supports the Ne’ma mission.” Ne’ma, the UAE National Food Loss and Waste initiative, a collaborative effort between the Ministry off Climate Change and Environment, Emirates Foundation and the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, whose aim is to reduce food loss and waste by 50 percent by 2030.