How the World Can Cut Food Loss and Waste in Half
By now, you’ve probably heard about the world’s problem with food loss and waste. An estimated 1.3 billion metric tons of food go to waste each year, affecting our economy, our well-being and our environment. What you’ve probably heard less about is the progress being made in reducing food loss and waste, and what needs to happen in the future to address this problem.
That’s where the new SDG Target 12.3 on Food Loss and Waste: 2017 Progress Report, released by the Champions 12.3 coalition, comes in. It tracks the movement toward meeting SDG Target 12.3 and lays out a roadmap for what both companies and governments need to do to achieve that goal. Developed by a team of experts from WRI and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), it’s the first comprehensive, time-bound roadmap we’re aware of that specifically addresses one of the 169 SDG Targets.
Target 12.3 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 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.
Our report tracks three steps:
- Target: Targets set ambition, and ambition motivates action. That’s why we see target-setting as an important first step toward achieving big reductions in food loss and waste.
- Measure: What gets measured gets managed. Once governments and companies know how much food is being lost or wasted and where it’s happening, they can formulate strategies for how to address it and monitor progress over time.
- Act: Ultimately, action is what matters. The necessary strides will vary around the world and by sector, but everyone has a part to play.
Our roadmap shows the timeline for cutting food loss and waste in stages, with the first milestone, for a 5 percent reduction, in 2018. So how are governments and companies doing in each of these areas?
Overall, the 2018 milestone is a 5 percent reduction in global food loss and waste. Although lots of great work is happening in the Target and Act categories, without good measurement we can’t know how much of that reduction (if any) is being achieved. As more countries start to conduct national food loss and waste inventories, a global picture should begin to emerge.
2030 feels like a long time from now. But if we really want to cut food loss and waste in half in just 13 years, all governments, companies, farmers and individuals must begin to address the issue head on.
This roadmap should help us all do just that―and will keep us honest about our progress along the way.