Circular Economy
|Oceania

SUEZ invests in Australian social enterprise Yume

SUEZ Australia & New Zealand (SUEZ) today announced it has taken a 20 per cent equity stake in online surplus food marketplace Yume Food as part of an investment in the circular economy.
SUEZ CEO Mark Venhoek said synergies between the two companies meant the decision to invest was an easy one.

“At SUEZ, our purpose is shaping a sustainable environment now and one way we demonstrate that is through a commitment to the circular economy,” he said. 

“It makes perfect business sense for us to support an organisation that shares that ethos, challenging the way we look at surplus food and diverting it from landfill.

“This equity investment will leverage our extensive network of customers to bring together food suppliers with food buyers. The result will be better outcomes for quality surplus products that would otherwise go to waste, in turn, benefiting the environment and the economy.”

Founded in 2016 by food rescue veteran Katy Barfield, Yume works closely with manufacturers and primary producers to understand their surplus food problems. By utilising innovative technology to streamline and simplify existing clearance processes, Yume maximises the opportunity for high quality food to find a suitable home, while delivering a return to businesses. 

Ms Barfield said she welcomed SUEZ’s investment which will help Yume expand its impact by tackling the enormous amount of food waste in Australia. 

“Each year in Australia we throw away an incredible 7.3 million tonnes of food equivalent to the weight of the Sydney Opera House – 45 times over. Fifty-five per cent of this occurs in the commercial food sector,” she said. 

“Food waste has a devastating impact on the environment and the time is now to make sustainable practice, common practice. I’m thrilled that SUEZ is bringing its global expertise in waste and resource management to Yume, to help us further our reach and maximise the work we can do for the good of the planet.”

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An award-winning social enterprise, Yume’s work with the food and beverage sector has seen it prevent nearly three million kilograms of quality surplus food from becoming waste and has returned over $8.4 million to Australian growers, manufacturers and businesses in less than five years. 

Leading Australian beverage company Lion Co is both a SUEZ customer and a customer to Yume. 

Lion Co group environment director Justin Merrell knows first-hand the benefits partnering with both organisations can bring.

“A key pillar of our environmental strategy is driving the circular economy where all resources are recycled or better still upcycled. When Yume offers an ingredient our brewers can’t resist, we get the opportunity to not only create a great product, but also follow the circular economy principles. Everybody wins!” Mr Merrell said.

“For companies like ours that are focussed on maximising the value of local resources, partnering with both SUEZ and Yume is an obvious step for delivering our environmental strategy.”

SUEZ’s equity investment in Yume will also support its commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly SDG12, promoting responsible production and consumption. 

“I’m looking forward to seeing the benefits this closer partnership with Yume can deliver for our mutual customers and for the environment,” Mr Venhoek concluded.