New ‘Champions 12.3’ Coalition Inspires Action to Halve Global Food Waste

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Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture CC


A coalition of 30 international leaders launched their Champions 12.3 initiative at the World Economic Forum in Davos today to inspire ambitious action on reducing global food loss and waste. The group’s name is a reference to Target 12.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seeks to halve per capita food waste and reduce food losses by 2030. The coalition will be Co-chaired by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner and Tesco Group Chief Executive Dave Lewis.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said, “We waste about one-third of food produced every year. That’s why I welcome this proactive, collaborative approach by the Champions of SDG 12.3 to halving food waste by 2030. UNEP’s Think Eat Save initiative, in partnership with FAO, raises awareness and promotes practices and policies to reduce food loss and waste. But for this target to be met comprehensively, we require important baseline data on our production and consumption patterns today.”

“I encourage all Champions to contribute to measuring food waste in their organizations and countries in order to help achieve an SDG target crucial to both food security and fighting hunger, as well as climate change,” added Mr. Steiner

Dave Lewis, Group Chief Executive of Tesco said, “Reducing food loss and waste is a significant global challenge and it’s very important that business plays its part. At Tesco, we’re committed to tackling food waste not only in our own operations but also through strong and effective partnerships with our suppliers and by helping our customers reduce waste and save money. This is an opportunity for businesses to work together and make a real difference to Target 12.3.”

Food loss and waste is a significant economic, social, and environmental challenge. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), it is responsible for nearly $940 billion annual global economic losses and 8 per cent of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, producing the food that is later lost or wasted requires about one quarter of all water used by agriculture, and a cropland area the size of China.

Reducing food loss and waste can be a triple win: It can save money for farmers, companies and households, alleviate hunger around the world and mitigate pressure on climate, water, and land resources.

The Champions 12.3 include CEOs of major companies, government ministers, and executives of research and intergovernmental institutions, foundations, farmer organizations, and civil society groups. These leaders will work to create political, business and social momentum to reduce food loss and waste around the world.

The Champions will inspire action by:

  • Leading by example on how to reduce food loss and waste;
  • Motivating others to meet SDG Target 12.3;
  • Communicating the importance of food loss and waste reduction;
  • Showcasing successful food loss and waste reduction strategies; and
  • Advocating for more innovation, greater investment, better information, and increased capacity to reduce food loss and waste.

The announcement took place at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, alongside the launch of The Rockefeller Foundation’s new YieldWise initiative, a seven-year, $130 million commitment to halving food loss and waste globally. The Foundation’s President, Dr. Judith Rodin, is also among Champions 12.3.

Champions 12.3 will complement and build upon ongoing successful UN programmes to reduce food loss and waste, including SAVE FOOD and Think.Eat.Save, efforts such as EU FUSIONS and the global Food Loss & Waste Protocol, private sector action like the Consumer Goods Forum’s Food Waste Resolution, and other initiatives.

The Champions effort supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals adopted in September 2015 by all 193 UN Member States. SDG 12 seeks to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Target 12.3 specifically aims to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level, and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses, by 2030.

Inspired by the “No More Food to Waste” conference in The Hague, in June 2015, the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands formally called for the coalition’s formation in September 2015, and is providing secretariat support for Champions 12.3, along with the World Resources Institute.

Originally Published: UNEP.org | 21 January 2016