It’s simple: we all need food. What’s complex is the food system. Climate change and economic crises worldwide continue to threaten food security and nutrition. On the other hand, food production has been harming the environment, and food loss & waste contribute to greenhouse gas emissions four times more than annual aviation.
According to Liz Goodwin of the World Resources Institute, “Food loss and waste drives up to 10% of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, yet just a handful of countries mention it in their national climate plans. None of the world’s biggest emitters are on that list.”
In the meantime, entities in the food system have taken the 123 Pledge to reduce food loss and waste.
The 123 Pledge focuses on Sustainable Development Goal 12 Target 3 about halving food waste and reducing food loss for Responsible Consumption and Production. It’s a challenge for governments, businesses, institutions, and other actors in the food system to fight against food loss and waste by committing to concrete steps.
This call to action is coordinated by Champions 12.3, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO). There are strict requirements to ensure impact, progress, and transparency. Additionally, the commitments must be new, measurable, timebound, and include a climate angle.
Diverse Stakeholders in the Food System
The organizations and individuals that have taken the 123 Pledge come from a diverse group of stakeholders. From startups to governments, here are some actors in the food system and their 123 Pledge commitments:
- World Resources Institute – Work through Champions 12.3 with farmer-facing companies to help 200,000 smallholder farmers start tackling on-farm and near-farm food losses by the end of 2024. By 2030, the goal is to have those farmers halve farm and near-farm losses.
- The Government of The Netherlands – Make the Farm-to-Fork Strategy more ambitious at the EU level, encompassing the entire food chain.
- Too Good to Go – Encourage and support governments in 10 countries to shape and improve food waste policy measures through its public affairs engagement; rescue 1 billion bags of surplus food through its mobile app; and raise food waste awareness with 250 million consumers through its awareness campaigns.
- GreenPod Labs – Preserve 10 million tons of fruits and vegetables in India by 2027. The organization uses natural plant extracts to activate the inbuilt defense mechanism, which slows down the ripening rate and minimizes microbial growth.
- Steven M. Finn of LeanPath – Develop a graduate-level course and webinar/blog content to raise awareness and directly educate citizens on the scope and scale of the food waste challenge, its urgency, and solutions & change initiatives.
“Commitment from all stakeholders – from governments, private sector companies, small producers, and civil society to consumers – will be required if we are to make a dent on the issue of FLW and achieve the aspirations of the 2030 Agenda,” says Máximo Torero Cullen of FAO.
Naz is the Manager for International Editorial at Green Network Asia. She once studied Urban and Regional Planning and has lived in multiple cities across Southeast Asia. She is an experienced and passionate writer, editor, translator, and creative designer with almost a decade worth of portfolio.