A coalition to reduce food waste made up of CEOs of major companies, government officials, heads of nonprofits and others formed today at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
The coalition, called Champions 12.3, aims to accelerate progress toward meeting Target 12.3 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seeks to halve per capita food waste and reduce food losses by 2030.
Globally, a third of all food is lost or wasted between the farm and the fork. The group says reducing food waste and loss is a “triple win.” It can save money for farmers, companies and households; wasting less can feed more people; and reductions can alleviate pressure on climate, water and land resources.
The 30 members of Champions 12.3 includes Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Tesco CEO Dave Lewis, EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, US Department of Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack, World Resources Institute president and CEO Andrew Steer and WWF International president Yolanda Kakabadse.
Bulcke says Nestlé has already pledged to send zero waste for disposal from its sites by 2020. “Such actions benefit society by supporting rural development, water conservation and food security, and help us ensure that our sourcing is more sustainable.”
Nestlé and Unilever are also members of the Consumer Goods Forum and have committed to halve food waste within their operations by 2025, compared to a 2016 baseline.
The members of Champions 12.3 have pledged to:
- Lead by example on how to reduce food loss and waste;
- Motivate others to meet SDG Target 12.3;
- Communicate the importance of food loss and waste reduction;
- Showcase successful food loss and waste reduction strategies; and
- Advocate for more innovation, greater investment, better information, and increased capacity to reduce food loss and waste.
According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, food loss and waste amounts to $940 billion in global annual economic losses. It also consumes about one quarter of all water used by agriculture, requires cropland area the size of China, and generates about 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Today’s announcement in Davos took place 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 a Champion.
In a related effort to curb food waste, last year the USDA and EPA launched a public-private partnership that calls for a 50 percent reduction by 2030 — the US’ first-ever national food waste reduction goal. Retailers and food and beverage companies including Kellogg, Sodexo, Wegmans Food Markets and Albertsons have voiced support for the goal.