Charity starts ... at Work? Conceptual Foundations for Research with Businesses that Donate to Food Redistribution Organisations

Elisha Vlaholias, Kirrilly Thompson, Danielle Every, Drew Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


As global concern about sustainability, food waste, and poverty increases, there is an urgent need to understand what motivates businesses to adopt pro-social and pro-environmental behaviours. This paper suggests that food redistribution organisations hold both pro-social and pro-environmental aims, due to their concern with reducing food surplus and food insecurity. To achieve this, they must motivate food businesses to donate their surplus food. However, little is known about the values, attitudes, and motives of food industry donors. The purpose of this paper is to provide a theoretical and conceptual overview to set out principles from which empirical data on food redistribution will be analysed or critiqued. Specifically, it explores pro-social and pro-environmental literature, as these fields have examined the motivations behind donations and reducing environmental impact. This review highlights that charitable giving of food is different to other inorganic material, such as money. Thus, future research is needed to capture the unique temporal, emotional, social, and environmental factors that motivate food donations. This information may contribute to the development of strategies that target and motivate people from the food industry to become food donors. Alternatively, it may reveal concerns about food donations, and highlight the need for other approaches to food waste and food insecurity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7997-8021
Number of pages25
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Charitable giving
  • Commercial food waste
  • Food redistribution
  • Motivations
  • Philanthropy
  • Pro-environmental behaviour
  • Pro-social behaviour


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