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Leading food retailers cutting food loss and waste in half

A group of the world’s largest food retailers and providers announced that nearly 200 of their major suppliers have committed to root out food loss and waste from the supply chain. The 10-plus food retailers and providers lead the groundbreaking “10x20x30” initiative, with each having engaged at least 20 suppliers to halve food loss and waste by 2030.  

“The environmental, business and moral case for tackling food waste is undeniable. We need more companies to target, measure and act on food waste and publish their data if the world is to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 12.3,” said Dave Lewis, chair of Champions 12.3 and group chief executive of Tesco. “The good news is action is replacing talk. 10x20x30 is a great example of how companies are working in partnership with food suppliers to tackle this issue from farm to fork and I now urge others to follow their example.”

The food retailers and providers behind 10x20x30 are AEON, Ahold Delhaize, Carrefour, IKEA Food, Kroger, METRO AG, Migros (Turkey), Pick n Pay, The Savola Group, Sodexo, Tesco, and Walmart. Among them are six of the largest food retailers in the world, the world’s second largest foodservice provider, and leading food retailers in regions such as southern Africa, the Middle East, and Japan. Combined, participants operate in more than 80 countries.

“Reducing food waste is the right thing to do to improve our business, our climate, and our food security," said Frans Muller, CEO of Ahold Delhaize: "Therefore it’s heartening to see that the 10x20x30 initiative is resonating across the broader food industry and that retailers and suppliers are committing to concrete actions to reduce food waste.”

The nearly 200 suppliers have each committed to a 50 percent reduction target within their own operations, to measuring and publishing their food loss and waste inventories, and to take action to reduce their waste. This “Target-Measure-Act” approach was pioneered by Champions 12.3, a voluntary coalition of executives from business, government and civil society dedicated to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal Target 12.3. SDG Target 12.3 calls for a 50 percent reduction in food loss and waste worldwide by 2030. The coalition helped develop 10x20x30, which was publicly launched at Champions 12.3’s 2019 annual food loss and waste summit in New York.

Tesco was the first retailer to use the Champions 12.3 “Target-Measure-Act” approach with its suppliers when it invited 27 suppliers to adopt the approach in 2017.  Now 71 of the retailer’s suppliers have published data on their food loss and waste. Their collective efforts contributed to the United Kingdom’s announcement earlier this year that the country has reduced food loss and waste by 27 percent since it began measuring wasted food in 2007 — making it the first nation in the world to surpass the halfway mark toward SDG Target 12.3. With this announcement, the nearly 200 suppliers are now taking the approach global.

“Food loss and waste is unseen, under-valued and a disturbing loss of human, environmental and economic capital,” said Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever. “Unilever is fully committed to halving food loss and waste by 2030 and we look forward to working with our supplier and retail partners to deliver this. The Champions 12.3 10x20x30 initiative is a great example of the collective action we need to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.”

“Cutting food loss and waste in half – from farm to fork – by 2030 will require ambitious, collective action. The 10x20x30 initiative is accelerating progress by aligning and training stakeholders across the industry on how to dramatically reduce food waste,” said Jane Ewing, senior vice president of sustainability for Walmart Inc.

Each year, one-third of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted, resulting in significant economic, environmental, and food security impacts. This amount equals $940 billion in economic losses annually. It is responsible for 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. And while more than 1 billion tons of food is lost or wasted annually, one in nine people is undernourished.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the urgency of addressing food loss and waste. Farm-level losses have increased in many countries as distribution has been disrupted and restaurants and other hospitality businesses have reduced operations. Addressing food loss and waste in a food business’s operations is a key strategy for ensuring a sustainable business as well as a sustainable food future.

“Reducing the more than 1 billion tons of food that’s lost or wasted each year would bring big social, environmental and economic benefits — but bringing these benefits to scale requires action across the entire supply chain,” said Andrew Steer, president and CEO, World Resources Institute, which serves as co-secretariat of Champions 12.3 and lead provider of technical assistance to the 10x20x30 retailers and suppliers.

“I’m encouraged to see so many leading food retailers and suppliers committing to bold action. It’s exactly what the world needs to achieve the target of 50 percent reduction by 2030,” Steer said.

In alignment with 10x20x30, an investment from the Walmart Foundation is supporting WRI to provide training and technical assistance on reducing food waste and loss, and will support WRI to share learnings across the food industry.

 

 

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