Donorum Has Ecology and Philanthropy at Heart

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

In 2016, France prescribed that it is compulsory for all supermarkets  in  its  territory  to  donate  excess  food  on  a  daily  basis.  Otherwise,  they  face  fines  of  up  to  €75,000.  Thus,  solidarity  among  the  French  is  encouraged by the letter of the law. On the other hand, due to  the  absence  of  the  Law  on  Donations  in  Serbia,  donor  companies have to pay VAT of 25 per cent, revealed Gordana Jovanovic, manager of Donorum.

Together  with  Ilija  Veselinovic,  Zvezdana  Mutapovic,  Filip Krivokapic, Tomas Momcilovic and Stefan Zivic, Gordana launched Donorum intending to offer the response to the  accumulation  of  food  waste  in  Serbia.  This  non-profit,  non-governmental  association  originated  from  the  desire  of  youth  to  help  socially  disadvantaged  people.  Its  name  comes from the Latin word meaning gift – donum. Guided by the motto that food surpluses are not a problem solely of  an  ecological  and  agro-economic  nature,  but  that  they  also  affect  people  in  our  community,  donors  Gordan,  Ilija,  Zvezdana, Filip, Tomas and Stefan have designed the Public Kitchen Infrastructure application.

According  to  the  United  Nations,  more  than  250,000  tonnes  of  food  is  thrown  away  annually  by  Serbian  households, which means that each country resident sends around €200 to the landfill. A not too nice and convenient place to invest  money,  we  will  agree!  “Other  countries  view  food waste as a basic resource, while our companies and individuals continue to fail to realize its potential due to regulations and irresponsibility,” said our interlocutor, who is by profession a geographer and an environmental engineer.

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

One  of  those  countries  Gordana  is  talking  about  is  Ireland,  which  is  where  the  Food  Cloud  app  comes  from.  Food  Cloud  was  an  inspiration  for  her  and  her  colleagues  to  make  Public  Kitchen  Infrastructure.  It  brings  together  more than 4,000 charities with the largest retail chains out there, such as TESCO and ALDI. “We believe that a similar project is feasible for us, as we have proven by creating this app,” she said.

We   also   received   firsthand   information   about   how   Public   Kitchen   Infrastructure   functions.   “Donors   and   humanitarian organisations should register to our website  Then  we  do  the  checking.  Registered  users then  receive  their  profiles.  Donors  can  post  donations  to  our  platform  at  any  time  after  the  process  is  completed  and they become visible to all affiliated charities,” Gordana, one of the original creators of Donorum, revealed to us. She adds that donors have the option to indicate the quantities of food that they have on disposal and the packaging those are  in,  as  well  as  the  option  to  check  the  donation  as  “an  emergency” if necessary.

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

The application is free of charge, and the data is updated in real-time and is available to the public. It started working at the end of October 2019, when company Imlek donated milk for the rehabilitation centre Duga from Novi Sad and the charity organisation Carolija from Belgrade.

Gordan,  Ilija,  Zvezdana,  Filip,  Tomas  and  Stefan  united  their  knowledge  and  skills  in  designing  the  website  and  promoting their association and application. The available resources were put into service by a noble cause. However, it requires collective action. Ecology and philanthropy seek the involvement of the state, industry and legislators, and Donorum delivered them a great meeting place.

Can We Use the App?

Currently, individuals cannot make their contribution to the work of Donorum’s public kitchen. Still, the team hopes to receive project funding soon to enable them to create an application for Android and Apple devices, Gordana explained.

By then, the association is inviting citizens to follow them on social networks, where they share tips for preventing food waste at home.

Prepared by: Jelena Kozbasic

This article was published in the new issue of the Energy portal Magazine NATURAL RESOURCES, march – may, 2020