Momentum on food loss and waste gaining, but action must accelerate to meet global target of 50% reduction, finds new report

NEW YORK (September 24, 2019)— Leaders from across the food system today gathered in New York to announce landmark developments toward halving food loss and waste by 2030, in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 12.3 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.” Food that’s produced but never eaten costs the global economy $940 billion annually and emits 8% of the greenhouse gases driving climate change.

“Every year the world is wasting 1.3 billion tons of food. That’s simply unacceptable,” said Dave Lewis, Chair of Champions 12.3 and Group Chief Executive of Tesco. “Today’s announcements are ground-breaking in their scope and scale, but we need to see more countries and companies targeting, measuring and acting on food waste and publishing their food waste data, if the world is to deliver Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 and halve food waste by 2030.”

Leaders from Champions 12.3– the coalition of private and public sector executives committed to accelerating action on Target 12.3–made the announcements during the coalition’s annual summit, held this year alongside the UN Climate Action Summit and UN General Assembly. They include:

  • New “10x20x30” Initiative Brings Together World’s Major Food Retailers & Providers to Engage Supply Chains in Halving Food Loss and Waste
    World Resources Institute announced that a number of the world’s largest food retailers and providers have formed a new initiative aimed at engaging their supply chains in fighting food loss and waste. Called “10x20x30,” the initiative brings together 10 of the world’s biggest food retailers and providers to each engage with 20 of their priority suppliers to aim to halve their rates of food loss and waste by 2030. Founding partners are AEON, Ahold Delhaize, IKEA Food, Kroger, METRO AG, Pick n Pay, The Savola Group, Sodexo, Tesco, and Walmart. They include 5 of the 10 largest food retailers in the world, the world’s 2nd largest food management company, and leading food retailers in regions such as southern Africa and the Middle East. Combined, participants operate in more than 80 countries.

  • Sustainable Rice Platform Calls on Rice Industry to Halve Rice Loss and Waste Worldwide
    The Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) – a global multi-stakeholder alliance including some of the world’s leading rice producers and buyers, including Olam, Mars Food, Loc Troi, Ebro Foods, SunRice, LT Foods and Phoenix Global – has called upon its members and the wider industry to commit to halving postharvest rice loss and waste by 2030. In addition to setting a reduction target, SRP will work with its partners to identify hotspots, set up a task force, develop a roadmap, find best practices to accelerate change and monitor industry actions toward achieving the 50% reduction. This initiative will make a significant difference to many of the 144 million small farmers whose livelihoods depend upon rice, as well as mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. As rice generates approximately 16% of all greenhouse gas emissions originating from agriculture, reducing rice loss and waste can shrink the industry’s climate change footprint while enhancing food and nutritional security.

    “More than half of the world population consumes rice three times a day. SRP promotes broad-scale application of the world’s first rice sustainability standard, which leads to more efficient farming systems and the availability of “better rice,” said Matthias Bickel, SRP’s Board Chair. “This means higher farm incomes, a safeguarded environment and reduced GHG emissions. We look forward to working with WRI and our value chain partners to implement practical programs to prevent food loss and waste in rice value chains, raise consumer consciousness and catalyze behavioral change."

  • The World Bank Reports $1bn Raised for Sustainable Development Bonds Highlighting Food Loss and Waste
    As part of a campaign to raise awareness for the importance of combating food loss and waste, the World Bank’s Sustainable Development Bonds has raised over $1bn in investments since the first transaction in March 2019. World Bank bonds support the financing of sustainable development projects and programs in member countries. This includes the support to middle-income countries to address food loss and waste from farm to fork, with investments in infrastructure, access to markets and logistics, as well as waste management.

These and other announcements are outlined in Champions 12.3’s newly launched 2019 report, which assesses global progress to meet SDG Target 12.3. The report finds that more than two-thirds of the world’s 50 largest food companies have set targets in line with Target 12.3, more than 40% are measuring their food loss and waste, and one-third are pursuing actions at scale to reduce waste in their own operations.

The report also finds that governments representing 50% of the world’s population have set an explicit national target in line with Target 12.3. However, governments representing just 12% of the population are currently measuring food loss and waste, and countries representing just 15% of the world’s population are pursuing reduction actions at scale.

“We simply cannot ensure food security in a sustainable manner without reducing food loss and waste,” said Hans Hoogeveen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the UN Organizations for Food and Agriculture. “Although progress is being made, the world still has a long way to go before it meets the ambitious SDG target of halving food loss and waste. Everyone needs to pick up the pace because, like food, there’s little time to waste.”

Champions 12.3 urges governments and businesses to adopt a “target-measure-act” model: Set food loss and waste reduction targets, measure to identify hotspots of food loss and waste and to monitor progress over time, and take action on the hotspots.

“I’m hopeful we can halve food loss and waste by 2030, but we’re just 11 years out from our target year. This is a critical moment when we really need all hands on deck,” said Liz Goodwin, Senior Fellow and Director of Food Loss and Waste, World Resources Institute. “We’re seeing that when companies and countries adopt this ‘target-measure-act’ approach, they see real results. It’s a model that works. We now need many more to follow the approach and reap the benefits.”

Read SDG Target 12:3 on Food Loss and Waste: 2019 Progress Report.


  • More than 820 million people worldwide are undernourished (FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP, and WHO. 2018).
  • One-third of the world’s food is lost or wasted, totaling 1.3 billion tons annually (FAO 2011).
  • Food that is harvested but ultimately lost or wasted consumes about one-quarter of all water used by agriculture each year (Kummu et al). It requires land area greater than the size of China to be grown (FAO 2013). And it generates about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions annually (FAO 2015).
  • Food loss and waste results in roughly $940 billion in economic losses globally per year (FAO 2015).
  • A family of four in the United States wastes an average of $1,500 per year on food they do not consume. That figure is about £700 per year for the average household with children in the United Kingdom (Buzby et al. 2014; WRAP 2015).


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