Initiatives on Food Loss and Waste
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) tackles the food loss and waste issue across multiple fronts. UNEP is the custodian of the SDG 12.3 indicator and publishes the Food Waste Index, every two years, to track country-level efforts on reducing food waste at the retail and consumer level. Each year, on 29 September, UNEP and FAO co-host the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste. Mandated by UNEA Resolution 4/2, UNEP builds capacity, raises awareness and advocates to improve the enabling conditions to halve food loss and waste.
Supporting UNEA Resolutions
UNEA Resolution 2/9 on Prevention, reduction and reuse of food waste requests UNEP’s Executive Director to collaborate with other international organizations and institutions – for example, through the “Think.Eat.Save” initiative.
UNEA Resolution UNEP/EA.4/L.2 on Promoting sustainable practices and innovative solutions for curbing food loss and waste requests UNEP to facilitate the exchange of experiences and knowledge, research and best practices amongst member states and other food system stakeholders.
Supporting the Rome Declaration on the Contribution of the Montreal Protocol to Food Loss Reduction through Sustainable Cold Chain Development.
Supporting the UN Resolution 74/209
On 19 December 20219, the General Assembly adopted the Resolution 74/209 on the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste. The resolution invites the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to facilitate the observance of the International Day, in collaboration with the United Nations Environmental Programme.
Supporting SDG target 12.3
UNEP is the custodian of the SDG 12.3 indicator, the Food Waste Index, which tracks country-level progress to halve global food waste at retail and consumer levels by 2030. As custodian and mandated by UNEA Resolution 4/2, UNEP builds capacity and advocates to improve the enabling conditions to halve food loss and waste.
Food Waste Initiatives
The Food Waste Index Report aims at supporting the goals of SDG 12.3. It does so by presenting the most comprehensive food waste data collection, analysis and modelling to date, generating a new estimate of global food waste; and publishing a methodology for countries to measure food waste, at household, food service and retail level, to track national progress towards 2030 and to report on SDG 12.3.
Reducing Consumer Food Waste Using Green and Digital Technologies provides an overview of the causes of consumer food waste and the opportunities for reducing it through technological solutions, behavioural change, and public and private initiatives. The report is combined with case studies and outreach activities in 5 cities in 5 regions, in close cooperation with local partners: Doha, Bangkok, Kampala, Bogota, Belgrade.
Food Loss Initiatives
UNEP also supports knowledge creation, pilots, enabling frameworks and guidelines as well as high-level advocacy to accelerate action on expanding sustainable food cold chain.
The Cold Chain Database and Modelling initiative developed together with the Global Food Cold Chain Council to assist countries in identifying their cold chain baseline covering different perspectives.
The Virtual Sustainable Cold Chain Exhibition showcases sustainable and commercially available cold chain technologies for food and vaccines.
The National Cold-Chain Support Programme established by UNEP in India is accelerating the deployment of sustainable and integrated cold-chain systems, supporting the implementation of India’s Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) and the achievement of the national target of Doubling Farmers Income by 2022. The program, delivered with AEEE, EESL and Auroville Consulting, is helping the national government and states mainstream efficient, renewable, climate-friendly cold chain infrastructure and services for horticulture in rural areas.
Africa Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling and Cold-chain is a first-of-its-kind Centre dedicated to sustainable, smart cold-chain, cooling and post-harvest management. ACES is hosted by the University of Rwanda in Kigali in collaboration with Rwanda Polytechnic. The programme is developed by the Governments of Rwanda and the United Kingdom (UK), UNEP and the UK’s Centre for Sustainable Cooling leading a consortium of leading UK universities, and University of Rwanda.
Regional Food Waste Working Groups
UNEP convenes Regional Food Waste Working Groups in Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean and West Asia, building capacity and facilitating knowledge sharing across 25 member states on food waste measurement and reduction. This year's series of workshops focuses on public-private partnerships, consumer behaviour change programmes and circular food systems transitions, and supports fundraising and strategy development, as part of country climate action, culminating in an in-person workshop around COP28.
Partners & Champions
UNEP is one the key partners of Champions 12.3 and UNEP Executive Director is one of the 36 Champions of SDG 12.3. Champions 12.3 is an influential coalition of executives from governments, businesses, international organizations, research institutions, farmer groups, and civil society “dedicated to inspiring ambition, mobilizing action, and accelerating progress toward achieving SDG Target 12.3 by 2030”.
Conceived at the “No More Food to Waste” conference in The Hague in June of 2015, during discussions between the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, WRI and UNEP, it was officially launched at Davos in 2016. The Netherlands and WRI provide Secretariat support. Achim Steiner was the original Co-Chair. For more information, visit.
Food is Never Waste Coalition
UNEP co-leads the ‘Food is Never Waste’ Coalition (with FAO, WRI and WWF), one of the outcomes of the Secretary General’s UN Food Systems Summit. The Coalition brings together member states, cities and a diverse group of stakeholders to connect the dots between food waste, hunger and the triple planetary crisis and scale up global efforts to deliver SDG 12.3. Browse here.
UNEP leads the Cool Coalition, one the official outcomes and “Transformation Initiatives” put forward by the Executive Office of the Secretary-General for the UN Climate Action Summit in New York. The Coalition brings together government, cities, international organizations, businesses, finance, academia, and civil society groups to facilitate knowledge exchange, advocacy and joint action towards a rapid global transition to efficient and climate-friendly cooling. Browse the project.
The Global Methane Pledge
The Climate and Clean Air Coalition hosted by UNEP is a core implementing partner of the Global Methane Pledge. Rapidly reducing methane emissions from energy, agriculture, and waste including food waste can achieve near-term gains in our efforts in this decade for decisive action and is regarded as the single most effective strategy to keep the goal of limiting warming to 1.5˚C within reach while yielding co-benefits including improving public health and agricultural productivity. Browse the project.
One Planet Network Sustainable Food Systems Programme
The One Planet Network Sustainable Food Systems Programme is a multi-actor partnership focused on catalyzing transformation towards sustainable food systems, as a critical strategy to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Through a shared vision of inclusive, diverse, resilient, healthy and sustainable food systems, the SFSP partners collaborate on joint on-the-ground activities, research initiatives and advocacy to support more coherent and holistic policies to address complex food systems challenges. To do this, the SFS Programme promotes a ‘systems-based’ approach, which tackles the food system as a whole, taking into account the interconnections between the elements and actors of our food systems and the indispensable trade-offs. UNEP co-leads the SFSP’s Core Initiative on Food Loss and Waste with FAO. Browse the programme.
Public and private entities as well as consumers from across the food systems, must work to cut food loss and waste to enhance the use of natural resources, mitigate climate change and support food security and proper nutrition for all. The International Food Loss and Waste: Get Involved guide offers key messages, facts and figures, and actions that stakeholders can take to help reduce food loss and waste.