RELEASE: The Netherlands Announces National Program to Reduce Food Waste

Champions of UN Sustainable Development Goal Target 12.3 Driving Effort Through Innovative Pilots and Public-Private Partnerships

For Immediate Release: March 23, 2018

Contact: Jillian Holzer, World Resources Institute,, +1 202-729-7754
Kim van Seeters, Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, The Netherlands,

WASHINGTON (March 23, 2018) – The Netherlands is aiming to be one of the first countries in the world to cut food waste in half, and now the country has a new national program, United Against Food Waste, to put it on a path to success. The initiative was announced Tuesday by the Taskforce Circular Economy in Food, a group made up of companies, research institutes, civil society organizations and the government.

Among the action items announced was a pilot supermarket aisle filled with items made from foods that otherwise would have gone to waste. The store shelf features products like soup created from wonky fruit and vegetables, beer from stale bread, and soaps made from discarded orange peels. Researchers from Wageningen University & Research will monitor and test sales and a host of other data points over the next six months to learn how best to expand the line of items.

The aisle was opened in the George Verberne Jumbo Supermarket in Wageningen by Louise Fresco, President of Wageningen University & Research’s executive board and a member of Champions 12.3, the global coalition of executives committed to halving food loss and waste by 2030.

“It’s very exciting to be able to go into a grocery store and buy items you know are helping to avoid excess waste. It’s equally exciting to see the lessons we can glean about which types of products and packaging appeal to consumers, what pricing level is correct, and how best to market and present the products,” said Fresco. “One-third of all food is lost or wasted in the world, and the social, environmental and economic impacts are enormous. It’s urgent that we find scalable solutions to this challenge.”

The supermarket aisle is one part of the new national program, which will focus on monitoring progress, joining forces to combat food waste across the food supply chain, changing consumer behavior to waste less food, and promoting legislation.

The Netherlands is among the top countries in the world for tackling food loss and waste due to leadership from across its sectors. In addition to Fresco, Dutch members of Champions 12.3 include Hans Hoogeveen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the UN Organizations for Food and Agriculture; Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever; Wiebe Draijer, Chairman of the Managing Board for Rabobank; Feike Sijbesma, CEO and Chairman of the Managing Board for Royal DSM; and Peter Bakker, President and CEO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

“Food loss and waste is an issue that must be prioritized, and it takes committed leaders to do that. We have an obligation to ensure the food that is produced around the world feeds people, and that it doesn’t go unused or end up in landfills. A lot of work remains. Public-private partnerships are vital for building the momentum needed to halve the more than 1 billion tons of food that is lost or wasted from farm to fork each year,” said Hoogeveen.

Representatives from the Rockefeller Foundation, WRAP and World Bank also joined the “Dutch Champions 12.3” event.

Also on Tuesday, at the “Appetite for Action” event, Wiebe Draijer – as head of Rabobank, the world’s leading food and agriculture bank – announced Kickstart Waste, a 3-year program to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals’ Target 12.3 on food loss and waste.

With Kickstart Waste, Rabobank aims to show how partners, including customers and companies throughout the food chain, can work together worldwide to find solutions to halve food waste by 2030.

“We see the ongoing transition to a sustainable food and agricultural sector not only as a moral imperative, but also as an incredible business opportunity,” said Draijer. “According to the FAO, there is a potential global market of almost a trillion dollars in food waste and food loss alone. We’re seeing an increasing number of clients investing in sustainability measures throughout the food value chain. At the same time, we’re excited about the emerging technologies coming from the start-ups we’re discovering and supporting through our FoodBytes! events and our Terra accelerator program. The need for change has never been greater, and as a result the business opportunities have never been bigger.”

Today, 28 percent of the world’s population lives in a country or regional bloc that has set a specific food loss and waste reduction target aligned with SDG Target 12.3. There has been a burgeoning of country-level public-private partnerships, but much more action is needed worldwide. Champions 12.3 has outlined the business case for countries and companies to reduce food loss and waste – and Champions are actively moving local, national and regional efforts to meet Target 12.3



Champions 12.3 is a coalition of nearly 40 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 the World Resources Institute serve as co-secretariats of Champions 12.3.