Two-thirds of world’s largest food companies now tackling waste

27th September 2018

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  • Sustainable Development Goals


Tilly Kimble-Wilde

Nearly two-thirds of the world’s 50 largest food brands are now participating in programmes with a food loss and waste reduction target, a new study has found.

Mars, Unilever and General Mills are among 10 of these companies to also set 2030 targets to halve their food waste, aligning themselves with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 12.3.

Moreover, these brands have said they will publish food waste data for their operations within 12 months, and take “concrete steps” to reduce waste in their supply chains and customers’ homes.

The findings were revealed in a report launched at the UN General Assembly in New York earlier this week by the Champions 12.3 initiative – a coalition of organisations looking to push forward the SDG target.

“In a world where one in nine people go hungry, it is a tragedy that a third of all food is lost or wasted,” Champions 12.3 chair and Tesco group chief executive, Dave Lewis, said. “Great progress has been made, but we need more countries and companies to step up.”

The report also shows that an estimated 30% of the world’s population now live in a country or regional bloc with a specific food loss and waste reduction target.

These include the US, EU, Australia, Japan and the African Union, with the UK, US, Denmark and the Netherlands starting to emerge as “world leaders” in tackling food waste.

The findings come on the same day that WRAP unveiled a new Food Waste Atlas to help companies and governments measure their food loss and waste by type, geography and stage in the supply chain.

This already contains data from over 190 countries, and has received support from UN Environment, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and Wageningen University & Research Centre.

“Atlas is a hugely important tool to find and report data on food loss and waste to help companies and governments benchmark action globally,” WRAP chief executive, Marcus Gover, said.

“Closer to home, we are also unveiling the first Food Waste Reduction Roadmap – a UK-wide commitment by all major retailers and more than 50 large food businesses to deliver their part in achieving SDG 12.3.

“WRAP has set out the key milestones UK businesses must reach, and together with Atlas the Roadmap, will be an important part of the mechanism to help us all win the food waste fight.”

Image credit: iStock


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