This fifth annual progress report assesses advances by governments and companies over the past 12 months relative to a three-step approach for reducing food loss and waste: target, measure, and act -- finding that the approach is working and examples from companies and governments show a 50% reduction in food loss and waste is possible. But there are only 10 years left to meet SDG Target 12.3 and cut food loss and waste in half – and more needs to be done.
In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include Target 12.3’s call for halving food waste and reducing food losses worldwide by 2030.
This fourth annual progress report assesses advances by governments and companies over the past 12 months relative to a three-step approach for reducing food loss and waste: target, measure, and act.
- One-third of all food is lost or wasted globally, resulting in significant impacts on food security, economic well-being, and the environment. The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the food loss and waste challenge at every stage of the food value chain.
- SDG Target 12.3 aims to halve global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses, including postharvest losses, along supply chains, by 2030.
- The United Kingdom is the first country to get more than halfway toward meeting this target, having reduced its national food loss and waste levels by 27% from 2007-2018. Several companies such as Tesco (Central Europe), Campbell’s, and Arla Foods have achieved food loss and waste reductions of more than 30%.
- With just 10 years to go, the world is behind where it needs to be to achieve SDG Target 12.3 by 2030.
- Many more governments and businesses need to aggressively pursue the Target-Measure-Act approach: (1) set a reduction target aligned with SDG 12.3, (2) measure food loss and waste to identify hotspots and monitor progress, and (3) act boldly to reduce food loss and waste.
Approximately one-third of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted, resulting in significant impacts on human livelihoods and well-being, the global economy, and the environment. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the urgency of addressing food loss and waste as food systems have struggled to respond to unforeseen drops in demand, labor, and disposable income.
In September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted SDG Target 12.3, which calls for halving per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reducing food losses along production and supply chains (including postharvest losses) by 2030.
This fifth annual progress report assesses advances by governments and companies from October 2018–September 2019, relative to the Target-Measure-Act approach to food loss and waste, wherein a country or company (1) sets a food loss and waste reduction target, (2) measures its food loss and waste to identify hotspots, and (3) takes action to reduce the hotspots of food loss and waste.
The Target-Measure-Act approach is working. The United Kingdom has reduced food loss and waste by 27% since measurement began in 2007, making it the first country to surpass the halfway mark toward the SDG target. This has been achieved through public-private partnerships, comprehensive consumer education campaigns and innovative policy shifts. Companies like Campbell’s, Arla Foods and Tesco (among others) have also achieved reductions greater than 30% within the past five years by following the Target-Measure-Act approach.
There are only 10 years left to meet SDG Target 12.3 and cut food loss and waste in half – and more needs to be done. More governments need to address food loss and waste through national measurement strategies, public-private partnerships, and innovative policies. And more companies need to adopt the Target-Measure-Act approach and engage their upstream business partners and suppliers to do the same if we’re to meet SDG Target 12.3 by 2030.