In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. SDG 12 seeks to “ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.” The third target under this goal (Target 12.3) 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.
To what degree has the world made progress toward achieving Target 12.3? This second 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.
Targets set ambition, and ambition motivates action. Therefore, a first step toward reducing food loss and waste is for governments and companies to set specific reduction targets aligned with SDG Target 12.3. One landmark highlight of the past 12 months is the Global Agri-business Alliance’s Food and Agricultural Product Loss Resolution, under which members will reduce their rate of food loss by 50 percent by 2030. The Global Agri-business Alliance is a global coalition of leading agricultural companies, including growers, producers, primary processors, and more. This resolution complements the Food Waste Resolution announced by The Consumer Goods Forum in 2015.
What gets measured gets managed. Quantifying food loss and waste within borders, operations, or supply chains can help decision makers better understand how much, where, and why food is being lost or wasted. Such data also is the foundation for prioritizing reduction strategies and for monitoring progress. One highlight of the past 12 months 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.