One-third of all food produced globally by weight is lost or wasted between farm and fork, resulting in significant environmental impacts and $940 billion in economic losses annually. To attain a more efficient system, more countries and companies must quantify their food loss and waste. However, without a consistent set of definitions and accounting and reporting framework — what’s considered “food loss and waste” has historically varied — it is difficult to identify and address food loss and waste hotspots.

The Food Loss & Waste Protocol (FLW Protocol) is a multi-stakeholder effort that addresses the challenges in consistently measuring and credibly reporting on food loss and waste. Its standardized method of quantitative data collection helps countries and companies identify where to focus their efforts to reduce food loss and waste, spurring action and change that positively impacts both people and the planet.

The FLW Protocol developed a global accounting and reporting standard, known as the FLW Standard, which enables a wide range of entities — countries, companies and other organizations – to credibly, practically and consistently report how much food loss and waste is created and identify where it occurs. This enables targeted food loss and waste reduction efforts, which improve the food security of people and countries; raise farmer incomes; lower costs for end consumers and companies in the food value chain; and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and demands on water and energy. 

The FLW Standard is designed to benefit countries, companies and other organizations and answer questions such as “how much food is being lost or wasted?” and “where is the loss or waste happening?” Most importantly, the FLW Protocol guides users on how to measure food loss and waste, providing: robust, credible and globally accepted methods; consistency and comparability; alignment to prevent “reinvention of the wheel;” and best measurement practices.

Photo Credit: F. Fiondella (IRI/CCAFS)/Flickr.