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Celebration of Service

Making Vienna’s food supply smarter

Wiener Tafel project works to donate excess supermarket food to the needy

Nearly 1 million people in Austria do not have enough to eat. At the same time, supermarkets have to pay for disposal of countless tons of unsold food, sending it to landfills instead of hungry people.

Wiener Tafel, a not-for-profit organization in Vienna, currently collects leftover food from supermarkets in Vienna and distributes it to more than 80 social organizations, ensuring that the food gets into the hands of those who need it most.

Austria has more than 600 supermarkets, and Wiener Tafel’s current capacity only allows them to collect food donations from 16 supermarkets. Through a Centennial Grant and the help of IBM volunteers, Wiener Tafel hopes to develop a Smarter Logistics project that will increase the amount of total food delivered by 20 percent.

“IBM and Wiener Tafel really share one philosophy: Smarter Planet,” says Dorota Krizmanits, IBM Project Manager, who applied for the Centennial Grant for Wiener Tafel. “Wiener Tafel stands for an intelligent way to solve a pressing societal issue.”

Building the capacity to deliver

With the IBM Centennial Grant, Wiener Tafel will implement a smarter logistic system to optimize the delivery routes of unused food – matching the supply of donated food to the demand of people in need. The second part of the project is the purchase of an electric vehicle to increase Wiener Tafel’s ability of efficiently deliver food and keep CO2 emissions down at the same time.

The project funded by the Centennial Grant is part of Wiener Tafel’s larger Smart Food Project, headed by IBM consultants. The organization is using the principles and goals of IBM’s Smarter Food initiative, which strives to make safer, more affordable and sustainable food with a more efficient, transparent supply chain for the entire planet.

More than 100 IBM employees currently volunteer in various capacities for Wiener Tafel, lending their expertise in marketing, communications, logistics, IT and other areas. IBM’s support of the not-for-profit reinforces the importance of the mission to get food to the needy, enhancing Wiener Tafel’s ability to gain community support from volunteers and donors.

“This project will significantly change the way Wiener Tafel works,” says Dorota. “It is a real showcase for other organizations like Wiener Tafel, not just in Austria, but also in Eastern Europe.”

IBM is marking its centennial year with a worldwide celebration of volunteer service. Throughout 2011, IBM invites everyone to join our global community of employees, retirees, families and friends as we support the communities where we work, live and learn together.