An Isle of Man technology company tackling the unsustainable levels of supermarket food waste has been nominated for the prestigious Earthshot Prize, aiming to solve some of the world’s greatest environmental challenges.
Gander, created by Island residents and father and son Mike and Ashley Osborne (pictured), has already helped save 25,000 tonnes of CO2 and prevented 24 million food items from being discarded since launching in 2019.
The app’s innovative technology allows shoppers to find reduced-price food in Shoprite stores Island-wide, stopping goods from going to landfill, saving customers money, and improving margins for businesses.
Gander, which was originally launched in the Isle of Man and has been supported by the Isle of Man Government, is being rolled out across the world. Its success has now led to it being nominated by two sustainability giants, WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) and Cranfield University, for the Earthshot Prize – a £1 million competition launched by Sir David Attenborough and Prince William in 2020 to award innovations and solutions that tackle some of the greatest environmental problems facing the planet.
Mike Osborne, managing director of Gander, said the current levels of waste globally were unacceptable, and that drastic change was urgently needed to prevent catastrophe.
He said: “The present scale of food waste worldwide is appalling, particularly during a cost-of-living crisis. A shocking one-third of all food produced globally goes to waste, and the retail sector alone is responsible for 13% of that waste, with an average of 50% reduced to clear food going to waste.
“To prevent a catastrophe, we require a significant transformation. That is why Gander was created.
“Large food corporations often make bold claims, but we must make throwing away good food as socially unacceptable as smoking indoors.’
Launching over the next few weeks in Australia, with Brazil and South Africa next to come, Gander is driving the sustainable revolution for retail and food waste, and expects to be able to save 120 million food items from landfill in the next three years, saving 126,000 tonnes of CO2 and methane (the equivalent of 16,800 elephants).
Mike Osborne continued: “This tech has the power to impact hundreds of millions of lives and be a real force for good, which is why we’re thrilled to have been nominated for this prize, as it helps to raise awareness of this increasingly unsustainable situation.”
Through the Department for Enterprise’s Financial Assistance Scheme, Gander received grants to support the launch of the Gander app and further research and development.
Digital Isle of Man was created to support the tech sector, developing and implementing a strategy to support sustainable economic growth and establishing the Isle of Man as a centre of international excellence for the digital economy.
Mr Osborne said: “We are so grateful to Digital Isle of Man for supporting Gander’s ‘retail revolution’. Their backing of the Isle of Man’s tech sector has been invaluable. They understand how technology can be a real game changer.”
Lyle Wraxall, Chief Executive of Digital Isle of Man, said: “We are delighted to hear that Gander has been nominated for the Earthshot Prize, and the Isle of Man Government is immensely proud to have supported such an innovative business in its growth stage.
“Gander is a shining example of a technological innovation that can help tackle one of the world’s most pressing environmental issues, and we hope this success story inspires other purpose-driven businesses in the digital and tech sectors to come and see what the Isle of Man has to offer.”
The nominees from the selection process will be presented to the Prize Council, which will announce the shortlisted finalists later this year.