Since the announcement of the Sustainable Development Goals, to what degree has the world made progress toward achieving Target 12.3? This publication answers this question as of September 2018 by evaluating progress relative to a three-step approach for reducing food loss and waste: (1) target, (2) measure, and (3) act.
Targets set ambition, and ambition motivates action. A first step to reducing food loss and waste is for governments and companies to set specific reduction targets aligned with SDG Target 12.3. Nearly two-thirds of the world’s 50 largest food companies (by revenue) participate in programs that have a food loss and waste reduction target consistent with SDG Target 12.3. Previously, most targets had been set by food retailers and manufacturers. This past year, more companies in other parts of the food supply chain, such as hotels and restaurants, started to set targets.
What gets measured gets managed. Quantifying food loss and waste can help decision makers better understand and respond to how much, where, and why food is being lost or wasted. One highlight from the past year is that a number of companies in the food sector—including Ahold Delhaize, ConAgra Brands, Danone, Kellogg Company, Nestlé, Pick n Pay, Sainsbury’s, and Tesco—are not just measuring but also publicly reporting their food loss and waste inventories, thereby pioneering best practices for the private sector. More than a quarter of the world’s 50 largest food companies now measure food loss and waste within their operations, and a number are working with their suppliers to help them measure and report on their food loss and waste.
What ultimately matters is action. Reducing food loss and waste is everyone’s responsibility. One noteworthy development over the past 12 months occurred in September 2018 when the African Union Commission launched the “Continental Post Harvest Management Strategy” that will support the realization of the Malabo Declaration, which calls for halving food losses on the continent by 2025. Another development is the emergence of more national-level public-private partnerships on food loss and waste reduction, with new partnerships established in the Netherlands and Indonesia.
A Road Map to Achieving SDG Target 12.3
This progress is promising. But is the world on track to achieve Target 12.3 by 2030? To answer this question, the 2017 Progress Report introduces a road map showing a pathway for achieving the target by 2030.
The report’s authors have assessed progress to date against the 2016–2018 milestones, with “green” indicating developments are on track to achieve this first milestone, “yellow” indicating some progress has been made but below the pace needed to achieve this milestone in time, and “red” indicating progress is not on track to meet this milestone in the next year.
Setting Targets to Reduce Food Loss and Waste
Governments. Countries representing more than 30 percent of the global population now have a target aligned with SDG 12.3.
Companies. Nearly 2/3 of the world’s 50 largest food companies participate in programs that have a food loss and waste reduction target.
Measure and Reporting Food Loss and Waste
Governments. Countries representing 10 percent of the global population are measuring food loss and waste.
Companies. More than a quarter of the world’s 50 largest food companies now measure food loss and waste within their operations, with the vast majority of these companies also publicly reporting.
Acting to Reducing Food Loss and Waste
Governments. Countries representing 14 percent of the global population are acting at scale to reduce food loss and waste.
Companies. Twenty percent of the world’s 50 largest food companies have established food loss and waste reduction programs.