A Menu of Solutions to Feed Nearly 10 Billion People by 2050
By 2050, nearly 10 billion people will live on the planet. Can we produce enough food sustainably? The synthesis report of the World Resources Report: Creating a Sustainable Food Future shows that it is possible – but there is no silver bullet. This report offers a five-course menu of...
WRI worked with two of the world’s largest consortia of food companies to reduce food loss and waste. The Global Agribusiness Alliance pledged to halve its food loss by 2030 and the Consumer Goods Forum committed to standardize food date labels by 2020. These bold commitments will help make food production and consumption more sustainable.
Nearly a quarter of all food calories produced for humans are never consumed, resulting in about $1 trillion in annual economic losses, significant greenhouse gas emissions and inefficient use of water, land and other resources. Food losses near the farm – during production, handling and storage – account for half of this food loss and waste around the world and contribute to hunger. Food waste that occurs between market and table accounts for another third, and is costly for consumers. Confusion about the meaning of expiration date labels – from “use by” and “sell by” to “best before” or “display until” – causes consumers to discard food that is still safe to eat. This confusion causes an estimated 20 percent of household food waste in OECD countries and costs U.S. consumers an estimated $29 billion annually.
WRI collaborated with the Global Agribusiness Alliance (GAA), a coalition of many of the world’s major food producers, and the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a partnership of the world’s largest manufacturers and retailers, to jointly develop commitments to reduce food loss and food waste. These commitments were made with the support of CEOs who are also members of Champions 12.3, a partnership (led by WRI and the Dutch government) of more than three dozen leaders dedicated to achieving progress on Target 12.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which calls for halving food loss and waste by 2030.
In September 2017, members of the GAA committed to halve their food losses by 2030. Their Food Loss Resolution complements the Food Waste Resolution that the CGF made two years earlier. Now the world’s leading food-related companies have targets consistent with SDG Target 12.3. Also in September, the CGF launched the Date Label Call to Action, a pledge to standardize and streamline food date labels by 2020 and encourage other companies to do the same. Together, these commitments will contribute to improving food security, raising farmer incomes, reducing costs for companies, helping household budgets and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Going forward, WRI will support GAA and CGF members on implementation.
To achieve radical reductions in food loss and waste, governments and businesses need to act now. A new report from the Champions 12.3 coalition reviews progress to date on meeting Target 12.3 of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
As profits for food and beverage companies stall, studies find consumers prefer products with positive social impacts. Companies can capitalize on this trend—and save money—by reducing food loss and waste.