Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the report, Reducing Food Loss and Waste: Setting a Global Action Agenda (136 pages, PDF), argues that halving the rate of food loss and waste — currently 1.3 billion metric tons a year, with an estimated value of $940 billion — is a critical strategy for meeting SDG 12, which calls for ensuring sustainable food consumption and production patterns, as well as other global goals related to hunger, poverty, and health. According to the report, food loss and waste account for 8 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions, a quarter of agricultural water use, and use of land equivalent to the size of China. Produced in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Iowa State University, the University of Maryland's Ed Snider Center, the Consortium for Innovation in Postharvest Loss and Food Waste Reduction, Wageningen University and Research, the World Bank, and WRAP, the study examines possible solutions to the problem of feeding ten billion people by the year 2050 while reducing the impact of food production on the environment and its role in climate change.
To that end, the report's authors lay out a "target-measure-act" agenda that calls on governments and companies to halve loss and waste by 2030, measure how much and where loss and waste occur, and take action to address "hot spots." The agenda also calls on all actors in food supply chains to follow sector-specific "to-do" lists for production, handling and storage, processing and packaging, distribution, and consumption, and on governments and business leaders to pursue ten "scaling interventions" designed to accelerate the impact and scale of sector-specific actions.
"Halving food loss and waste by 2030 is critical if we're to feed the world without destroying the planet," said WRI president and CEO Andrew Steer. "The three-pronged agenda we're urging gives the world a blueprint for success, with clear and specific action items everyone from crop farmers to hoteliers must take now to combat this waste."