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Nestlé, Tesco, Unilever CEOs Among 'Champions 12.3,' Determined to Halve Global Food Waste

Image credit: hadkhanong

On Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, 30 CEOs, government ministers, global institution executives, and civil society leaders announced the launch of the latest full-scale attack on global food waste: an all-sector collaboration aimed at increasing political and social momentum to achieve Target 12.3 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Goal 12 — to ensure sustainable production and consumption patterns — is broken down into 11 smaller goals; 12.3 is 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.

Champions 12.3 — which includes CEOs of major food companies Nestlé, Tesco and Unilever, along with government ministers, executives of research and intergovernmental institutions, foundations, farm organizations, and civil society groups  will work to create political, business and social momentum to reduce food loss and waste around the world.

Globally, a third of all food is lost or wasted between the farm and the fork. Reducing food loss and waste can be 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 Champions aim to 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.

Food loss and waste has significant economic, social, and environmental consequences. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), food loss and waste amounts to $940 billion in global annual economic losses. It contributes to hunger. And lost and wasted food consumes about one quarter of all water used by agriculture, requires cropland area the size of China, and generates roughly 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The announcemen took place during the World Economic Forum meeting 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.

“To succeed in cutting food waste in half, we must take a systemic approach,” Rodin said. “Through YieldWise, we will build a more resilient food system by demonstrating how the entire supply chain can collaborate to achieve the goals set by Champions 12.3. Together, we will ensure that humanity has enough food to thrive, all while respecting the limits of our planet’s ability to provide.”

Champions 12.3 will complement and build upon ongoing successful UN programs 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 such as the Consumer Goods Forum’s Food Waste Resolution, and other initiatives.

Inspired by the “No More Food to Waste” conference in The Hague in June of 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 World Resources Institute.

“Reducing food loss and waste is a significant global challenge and it’s very important that business plays its part,” said Dave Lewis, Group Chief Executive of Tesco and Chair of Champions 12.3. “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.”

“If food loss and waste were a country, it would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world,” said Dr. Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute. “Thankfully, we are embarking on a journey where business, government and other leaders can use their voices to make a tangible difference to reach Target 12.3. These Champions have the power to convert momentum into a global movement.”

Champions 12.3 currently includes:

  • Dave Lewis (Group Chief Executive, Tesco – Chair)
  • Achim Steiner (Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme – Co-Chair)
  • Vytenis Andriukaitis (European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety)
  • Peter Bakker (President, World Business Council for Sustainable Development)
  • Paul Bulcke (Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé)
  • Wiebe Draijer (Chairman of the Executive Board, Rabobank)
  • Shenggen Fan (Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute)
  • Louise Fresco (President of the Executive Board, Wageningen University)
  • Liz Goodwin (Chief Executive Officer, Waste and Resources Action Programme)
  • Eva Kjer Hansen (Minister of Environment and Food, Denmark)
  • Hans Hoogeveen (Vice Minister for Agriculture, The Netherlands)
  • Yolanda Kakabadse (President, WWF International)
  • Sam Kass (Senior Food Analyst at NBC News and former White House Chef)
  • Gina McCarthy (Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Evelyn Nguleka (President, World Farmers’ Organisation)
  • Kanayo Nwanze (President, International Fund for Agricultural Development)
  • Raymond Offenheiser (President, Oxfam America)
  • Cao Duc Phat (Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam)
  • Paul Polman (Chief Executive Officer, Unilever)
  • Juan Lucas Restrepo Ibiza (Chairman, Global Forum on Agricultural Research)
  • Judith Rodin (President, The Rockefeller Foundation)
  • Oyun Sanjaasuren (President of United Nations Environment Assembly and Member of Parliament of Mongolia)
  • Feike Sijbesma (Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Managing Board, Royal DSM)
  • Andrew Steer (President and Chief Executive Officer, World Resources Institute)
  • Tristram Stuart (Founder, Feedback)
  • Rhea Suh (President, Natural Resources Defense Council)
  • Rhoda Peace Tumusiime (Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, The African Union)
  • Sunny Verghese (Co-Founder, Group Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Olam International)
  • Tom Vilsack (Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture)
  • Senzeni Zokwana (Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Republic of South Africa)

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