New York City, New York (September 20, 2022) – Today in the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the Champions 12.3 coalition announced a series of landmark developments in the global fight against food loss and waste. Champions also sounded the alarm that not enough is being done fast enough to combat food loss and waste – especially in light of the war in Ukraine, inflation and climate change, which together have created an historic food situation that’s driving millions to face hardship.
“The world is facing a food crisis, cost-of-living crisis and climate crisis. Reducing food loss and waste is an important strategy for addressing each one of these,” said Sunny Verghese, Co-Chair of Champions 12.3 and Co-Founder and Group CEO, Olam. “We need to ensure a sustainable food future for generations to come. We’re making progress, but it’s time for everyone to step up their game.”
The coalition spotlighted progress in a number of areas:
- Corporate Action: Ingka Group, the largest IKEA retailer, announced that the company has cut food waste by 54% across all its iconic IKEA restaurants in 32 markets, making it the first global company to demonstrate that achieving Target 12.3 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals – which calls for halving the rate of food loss and waste by 2030 – is achievable.
“I truly believe food is too precious to be wasted and that everyone has a role to play to prevent and reduce food waste, whether it is at home in our own kitchens or in our business,” said Karen Pflug, Chief Sustainability Officer of Ingka Group, the largest IKEA retailer. “It’s clear that we need to take decisive action to play our part to change this. The impact we can all have on preventing and reducing food waste is beneficial for both people and the planet.”
- National Action: China’s government will establish a national system to measure and monitor food loss and waste. It also will investigate on-farm food losses and implement action plans to address food waste in the catering industry, canteens, schools, and households. In addition, public awareness campaigns against food waste are set to receive more support from the government. Further highlighting the importance of country action and the urgency of tackling food losses, Champions 12.3 is welcoming several Ministers of Agriculture from Africa.
“Reducing food losses is quickly becoming a top priority for addressing food security, climate change and transforming food systems for many countries. It is exciting to welcome four new Champions from Africa, the Ministers of Agriculture from Gambia, Mauritius and Rwanda and the CEO of AGRA. I hope many more will join us in championing this vital issue,” said Hans Hoogeveen, Co-Chair of Champions 12.3 and Independent Chairperson of the Council at FAO.
- Farmer Action: Champions 12.3 announced plans to launch 10x20kx30, an initiative where at least 10 major agriculture companies will each engage 20,000 of their supplying farmers to halve food losses by 2030—again marking a move toward greater action and investments in reducing food losses.
- Consumer Action: To help governments, businesses and consumer campaigns engage educate households in how to curb food waste, Champions 12.3 released a guide with best practice behavior change strategies. Global climate action NGO WRAP and Unilever – both led by members of Champions 12.3 – are set to release new research on International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste showing that, despite the increasing cost of living, many people still do not see reducing food waste as a key cost-saving strategy.
“Consumers stand out as needing a lot more help to reduce household food waste,” said Liz Goodwin, Senior Fellow and Director, Food Loss and Waste at World Resources Institute. “Right now, the food crisis is causing a lot of pain. It’s vital that we do more to help households save money by ensuring food affordably feeds people rather than landfills or incinerators. This guide is the first of its kind to be applied to helping households reduce their waste, and comes just in time.”
Despite the growing momentum, the 2022 edition of Champions 12.3’s annual assessment of the state of the world’s efforts to reduce food loss and waste finds that the world is woefully behind being on track to achieve SDG Target 12.3 by 2030. Many smaller companies continue to lag and too few countries are taking sufficient action, even as the global food crisis worsens. Countries representing only 15 percent of the global population measure and monitor their national food loss and waste, for example.
The coalition urged many more companies to support their suppliers in setting food loss and waste reduction targets and for more governments to increase investment in reducing post-harvest losses, develop national food loss and waste reduction strategies, and other actions.
ABOUT CHAMPIONS 12.3
Champions 12.3 is a coalition of leaders across government, business and civil society dedicated to inspiring ambition, mobilizing action, and accelerating progress toward achieving Target 12.3 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Target 12.3 calls on the world to “halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses” by 2030.
The Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and World Resources Institute serve as co-secretariats of Champions 12.3. For more information, visit www.Champions123.org
To express interest in joining the Champions 12.3 Assembly, visit www.champions123.org/assembly
Jillian Holzer, World Resources Institute, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 202-264-0567