Private Sector Food Producers Line up Behind First Ever Global Initiative to Cut Food Losses

Oct 2, 2017 9:40 AM ET

WBCSD | News & Insights

A global initiative committing major international food producers to tough new targets to reduce food loss was announced during the United Nations General Assembly’s Climate Week in New York1.

This voluntary resolution calls on private sector members of the Global Agri-Business Alliance2 (GAA) to halve their food and agricultural losses by 2030, and work with suppliers and customers to the same end, a target aligned with Sustainable Development Goal Target 12.3.

The Resolution comes as the GAA has endorsed food loss as a key programmatic priority.  Committing to a member-wide resolution to tackle food loss will underscore GAA’s ambition to collectively address sustainability challenges affecting agricultural supply chains, drive efficiency and value creation and demonstrate forward-thinking by its members.

The announcement was made during the launch of the “SDG Target 12.3 on Food Loss and Waste: 2017 Progress Report” at an exclusive Champions 12.3 event. The report includes a ground-breaking roadmap for achieving Target 12.3, and a summary of how countries, cities, and the private sector are making progress to date toward the target. This makes SDG Target 12.3 the only target with independent champions, mobilization, and monitoring.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) acts as the GAA Secretariat and has co-developed the new GAA Food Loss Resolution. The Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard3 will be used across the membership to measure companies’ progress. WBCSD, which represents private-sector companies from all over the world, will encourage further adoption of the resolution and the reporting standard across its members.

Lost and wasted food is a major contributor to climate change, consuming around 25 per centof water used in agriculture and generating approximately eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, whilst 800 million people go hungry every day, and the world’s population is rising, a third of all food is never consumed, costing the global economy $940 billion.

“This is a very significant breakthrough because it’s the first ever global initiative addressing food loss supported by major agri-businesses with an aim to halve their food losses by 2030. In addition, other WBCSD food and agriculture initiatives have backed this resolution, giving it support all across the supply chain,”said Peter White, Vice President of the World Business Council on Sustainable Development told delegates in New York.

It’s absolutely vital to engage companies because almost all food consumed in the world is produced by the private sector, yet a third of what’s produced never gets eaten by the consumer ~ Peter White,Vice President, WBCSD

Beyond this, WBCSD is also working with many smaller and independent private sector companies developing innovations and more sustainable products which will also help to meet the SDGs around food loss and waste.

For example Protix, a pioneering producer of insect-based proteins based in the Netherlands, is in the process of launching a natural soil-improver which is believed to be the first in Europe harnessing the benefits of insects, which are fed from organic food waste. Protix is working with UK partners to launch a new product in the UK and other markets later this year. 

Background information

  1. Climate Week NYC gathers the most influential leaders from business, states and cities annually to share why and how they are embracing the opportunities of the clean economy.
  2. The Global Agri-business Alliance (GAA) is an international, CEO-led, private sector alliance committed to harnessing the collective strengths of the global agri-business sector to tackle environmental, social and sustainability challenges to improve the resilience of farmers across the world.
  3. The FLW Standard is the first-ever set of global definitions and reporting requirements for companies, countries and others to consistently and credibly measure, report on and manage food loss and waste.