Advancing Partnerships

Investing in Food Loss & Waste Reduction: Harnessing Collaborative Partnerships for UN SDG 12.3 Success

‘Target, Measure, Act’ is a proven principle in accelerating food loss and waste reduction to meet UN SDG 12.3 target, requiring wide adoption by governments and businesses around the world.  International Climate Action NGO, Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is applying and enabling  this principle to be delivered through public-private partnerships  (PPP) across six continents.  In 2020, P4G  supported the WRAP-led  FLAWLESS project (Halving Food Loss And Waste by Leveraging Economic Systems) in Indonesia, South Africa and Mexico to halve food loss and waste through collaborative action and leveraging economic systems to scale impact.

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Key Messages

  • Our global food system is broken. It is inequitable ‑ our current food system is failing to stave off hunger for hundreds of millions and fueling obesity elsewhere. It is inefficient ‑ One‑third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally. This amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year, worth approximately US$1 trillion.[1] It is unsustainable – as the culprit for around 30% of the planet's greenhouse gas emissions, 70% of biodiversity loss and a major contributor to the environmental challenges we all face. [2]It requires systematic change and that change requires a collaborative approach.
  • We need to accelerate efforts if we are to deliver the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 target of halving food loss and waste by 2030. The principle of “Target, Measure, Act” is proven to accelerate reduction. It needs to be widely adopted by governments and businesses around the world. Public‑private partnerships tackling food loss and waste embrace the Target Measure Act principle and enable implementation within stakeholders across the food system.
  • We need to invest in food loss and waste reduction in both scaling and replicating impactful interventions around the world. This includes the development and provision of financial mechanisms that incentivise the private sector. The Champions 12.3 ‘Business case for reducing food loss and waste’ indicates that a 14‑fold financial return on investment in taking food loss and action, can be realised
  • Impactful action is delivered through evidence and collaboration. A public‑private partnership (PPP) is about working together to deliver a shared goal. In tackling food loss and waste this means “a collaboratively agreed, self‑determined 'pact' or agreement to take action on food waste generated at different stages of the food system.” Food loss and waste public private partnerships adopt an evidence‑based approach, using data and insights to inform where hotspots occur throughout the value chain and what impactful interventions are required. Collaboration with stakeholders across the food system
    enables 'farm to fork' consideration of impact and action, overcoming common barriers and fosters innovation which scales impact and allows benefits (financial, environmental and social) to be realised by all.


A blueprint for scalable and replicable impact 

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is an international climate action NGO which has been tackling food loss and waste for two decades. In 2005, it initiated a public‑private partnership ‘The Courtauld Commitment’, which has been dubbed “the blueprint for voluntary collaborative action for food loss and waste in the world”, bringing together businesses, governments, and citizens to deliver a shared ambition to reduce food loss and waste in the UK. Through the Courtauld Commitment, WRAP has helped the UK waste 27% less food waste each year (saving 5.3 million tonnes of CO e annually) that puts 2 the country on trajectory to deliver the UN SDG 12.3 target.

 As an internationally‑recognised model for delivering food loss and waste reduction at scale,WRAP has developed food loss and waste public private partnerships across six continents. Each PPP is adapted to local context, aligned to UN SDG target 12.3 and the principles of Target, Measure, Act. 

Enabling food loss and waste activity in Indonesia, South Africa and Mexico is critical if global food loss and waste ambitions are to be met.


The FLAWLESS project comprised of a global coalition of partners led by WRAP aimed to accelerate reduction of food loss and waste through two parallel approaches in Indonesia, South Africa and Mexico ‑ the establishment of food loss and waste public private partnerships along with mobilising the financial sector to factor in both financial and environmental performance in their lending. The two strands of activity were linked together by connecting financial services that complemented food system stakeholders ‘targeting, measuring and acting’ on food loss and waste reduction.

The FLAWLESS project engaged with financial service providers operating in each country to understand the current level of provision to incentivise food loss and waste reduction and what is required for the market to increase accessibility and broaden range of products. This was matched by understanding the status, barriers and opportunities of the food industry to invest and utilise financial products as a mechanism to scale food loss and waste reduction.

Through the coalition of FLAWLESS partners and public private partnerships, the project focussed on three financial interventions: 

  • Enabling sustainability-linked lending, 
  • Developing a carbon methodology for keeping food in the human supply chain  to support trading (VERRA)  and
  • Trialling a food waste measurement equipment hire model incentivised by savings made (Leanpath).

This led to a public private partnerships signatory financial survey on sustainability‑linked loans and workshops with financial service providers, piloting of the Leanpath model in a major hotel chain in Indonesia and VERRA publishing a carbon standard methodology for reducing food loss and waste.

In regard to the public private partnerships, WRAP partnered with a host organisation in each of the three countries to maximise local delivery and adapt the model to context. WRAP provided capacity building to each host who were integrated and connected with the country’s food system, plus technical assistance which continues to this day.

The following organisations act as PPP hosts:

  • Indonesia - IBCSD, an association led by CEOs who have a shared commitment in promoting sustainable development. Public-private partnership GRASP 2030 was launched in 2021.
  • Mexico - BAMX, a national food banking organisation with a network of 55 food banks across 30 states. Public-private partnership Pacto por la Comida was launched in 2021.
  • South Africa - CGCSA, an industry association that represents retail and manufacturing member companies. Public-private partnership The South African Food Loss and Waste Initiative was launched in 2020.

Within each PPP, there are a number of committed influential actors (signatories) from across the food system, representing꞉ Government, food production, retailers, brands, manufacturers, hospitality and food service, food donation, academia, trade associations, research and development. This breadth of involvement enables food loss and waste to be tackled at policy, industry and citizen levels.

A key strength of the PPP model is that it can be adapted to suit a context specific to a country or region and deliver through challenges or times of change. The PPPs of Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa were established during the pandemic. As a vehicle for long term change, it can adapt to political (Mexico), social and natural (South Africa) challenges whilst being part of the solution i.e. increasing the amount of food donated to feed those vulnerable.

“WRAP works with in‑country partners across the world to deliver effective public private partnerships that respond to the local challenges of addressing food loss and
waste. The relationships are strategic in nature, working together to deliver the greatest impact and to inspire food loss and waste action across regions.” ‑ Michael Jones, International Partnerships Manager, WRAP


Adapted from Indonesia Business Council for Sustainable Development (IBCSD)

Enabling ‘Target Measure Act’ 

GRASP 2030, Pacto por la Comida and the South African Food Loss and Waste initiative provide a calendar of signatory activity delivered by a PPP host, with technical assistance from WRAP. The calendar of activity includes collaborative working groups, individual and group activities to support the adoption of Target, Measure and Act.

At the heart of PPP delivery is data and insight, providing an evidence‑based approach to understanding and tackling food loss and waste 'hotspots' across the supply chain through impactful interventions. Food business signatories are required to measure and provide the PPP with annual data to measure progress and continually refine the initiative to focus on the most impactful interventions. 

Each PPP contributes towards the shared ambition of striving for the UN SDG 12.3 target within their influence. For example, fresh produce company Farmwise Marketing, a signatory to the South Africa Food Loss and Waste Initiative decided to utilise produce that did not meet specification grades. This meant the development of 'mash lines' and 'decided lines' and the donation of all processing by‑products to animal feed. By creating value out of things that otherwise would have been “waste” — they increased crop utilisation, cost savings, and generated employment for working on the new product lines.


Through the FLAWLESS project, the PPP model was developed, launched and mobilised in Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa. Each PPP has recruited major and influential signatories from across the food system and 'onboarded' signatories to turn commitment to implementation in delivering Target, Measure, Act. Complemented by a calendar of activity, each PPP has collaborative working groups covering topics such as food donation, policy and regulation and key food categories to overcome challenges. Signatories in each PPP create and deliver on an action plan of activity that will contribute towards the UN SDG 12.3 target which is regularly reviewed. All the PPPs are working with the signatories to measure and report on food loss and waste with collective progress to be publicly reported. In Indonesia and Mexico, the PPPs have undertaken citizen behaviour change activity, demonstrating activity from the 'farm to fork'. Together, the PPPs in Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa represent over 150 stakeholders from across the food system, committed and aligned to delivery of UN SDG 12.3 target.

“Food loss and waste is a global issue which cannot be tackled by one actor alone, it requires effort by all. Public‑private partnerships are a vehicle for systemic change and long term impact through collaborative action. We have seen what can be achieved in the UK (The Courtauld Commitment) through this approach and with food loss and waste public private partnerships now established in six continents, we will see incremental impact that deliver the UN SDG 12.3 target.” ‑ Michael Jones, International Partnerships Manager, WRAP.



Whilst the FLAWLESS project finished in 2022, its activity and impact continues in Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa. The financial mechanisms created and tested in country are being pursued and the carbon standard methodology for food loss and waste provides a platform for the development of trading. The public‑private partnerships are growing in strength in delivering food loss and waste reduction through the Target, Measure, Act approach with Source꞉ IBCSD Indonesian Business Council for Sustainable Development published progress on the way.

If UN SDG 12.3 target is to be delivered, we need to see more food loss and waste public private partnerships established around the world and interventions such as financial mechanisms need to be leveraged to scale impact. The FLAWLESS project has shown that commitment, partnerships and collaboration can make a difference. Together, we can fix our broken food system so that it is sustainable and equitable for current and future generations.


  1.  World Food Programme 2020
  2.  WWF Report 2022; Driven to Waste꞉ Global Food Loss on Farms

Additional Material 

  1. WRAP; The Courtauld Commitment 2030 Progress and Insights Report 2021/2022; 
  2. Capgemini Research. 2022; Reflect. Rethink. Reconsider. Why Food Waste Is Everybody’s Problem; 
  3. WRAP; Food system transformation through the Courtauld Commitment 2030; ; Video at - 
  4. WWF-UK; 2021;  Driven to Waste: The Global Impact of Food Loss and Waste on Farms. 
  5. WRAP; The Food Waste Reduction Roadmap Progress Report 2022; 
  6. Food Waste Atlas; Tracking global food waste; 
  7. European Union 2020; Farm to Fork Strategy;  
  8. WRAP; History of the Courtauld Commitment ; 
  9. WRAP ; Food Waste Reduction Roadmap businesses and supporters list; 
  10. Champions 12.3 ; SDG Target 12.3 on Food Loss and Waste: 2022 Progress Report;  
Headline Image; Simon Peel via Unsplash