2019 Progress Report: SDG Target 12.3 on food loss and waste

Katie Flanagan, Brian Lipinski, and Liz Goodwin
Champions 12.3
Resource type:
Reports and discussion papers

This report highlights progress made towards achieving SDG Target 12.3: “By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.” Using a three step system - Target, Measure, Act - the authors assess government and businesses on what has been done to date and where more concerted efforts are needed. 

Overall the report calls for more action - from governments, businesses, farmers and individuals to scale up their commitments and efforts to reduce food loss and waste. In particular, the report calls for publicly available data for national and global food loss and waste levels to enable more accurate tracking of progress against SDG Target 12.3.  

Figure 6 (reproduce below) from the report lays out actions from both public and private sectors at different stages of the supply chain that have contributed to progress since the 2018. Some of key messages from the report include:

  • In order for SDG 12.3 to be achieved, more governments need to urgently set targets, measure, and act boldly to reduce food loss and waste. It is imperative that national governments dramatically accelerate their efforts to reduce food loss and waste. Too few governments are setting targets, establishing base-year estimates of food loss and waste, and taking bold action at scale to reduce food loss and waste. There are notable exceptions, but they remain exceptions.
  • Reducing food loss and waste is an overlooked strategy for helping countries meet their commitments to the Paris Agreement on climate change. More countries should include food loss and waste reduction in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as they enhance them between now and year end 2020. 
  • National action on food loss and waste can help countries meet their food security goals. Therefore, countries should include food loss and waste reduction in their national food and agriculture policies, programs, and incentives.
  • Businesses need to increase efforts to engage their suppliers (thus multiplying action) and increase public reporting of their food loss and waste inventories. The past 12 months have seen a slight increase in companies working with their suppliers to set targets, but the number of companies that have set targets that are also working with their suppliers remains low at 18 percent
  • Companies are currently outpacing governments when it comes to measuring food loss and waste. In particular, the last 12 months have seen a significant (but still too slow) increase in companies measuring and publicly reporting their food loss and waste inventories.
  • There are only 11 years remaining before the SDGs are due to be met. It is therefore essential that all governments, companies, farmers, and individuals deepen their commitment to reducing food loss and waste and accelerate their efforts. Set targets, measure the problem, and take action. If the world does this, it will take a big step forward in reducing food loss and waste, and securing a more sustainable future for people and planet.
Fig 6 2019 SDG 12.3 Progress Report


This resource presents evidence or data but has not been peer reviewed