Fight global food waste and loss by driving innovations and generating solutions across the entire value chain
List of participants will be added in due course
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
The overall objective of the SAVE FOOD Initiative is to reduce global food loss and waste towards ensuring more productive, resilient and low-emission food systems. SAVE FOOD recognizes that food loss and waste reduction is cross-cutting in the context of climate action and offers a key pathway to cut emissions and boost resilience in food systems. Increasing food availability through food loss and waste reduction is crucial for ensuring food and nutrition security and will help to strengthen adaptation, risk reduction and resilience measures in vulnerable populations and regions. In addition, addressing the food loss and waste challenge through the deployment of climate technologies along the value chain presents an additional opportunity to enhance the mitigation potential in food systems and mobilize climate finance.
Quantitatively, FAO through the SAVE FOOD Initiative will provide assistance to its member countries towards delivering on SDG 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”.
SAVE FOOD is also supporting efforts to achieve regional objectives such as:
Commitments made under the African Union Malabo Declaration to halve post-harvest losses in Africa by the year 2025.
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) has included in the PLAN SAN CELAC halving the amount of per capita food and loss waste by 2030.
The qualitative and operational objectives are to enhance collaboration among partners and increase awareness in efforts to influence more sustainable production and consumption patterns. Stronger involvement from the private sector (farmers, industry) towards driving and investing in sustainable solutions is particularly one of the main objectives.
Roadmap and work plan
The work/roadmap of the SAVE FOOD Initiative is based on four pillars:
• Collaboration and coordination of world-wide initiatives on food loss and waste reduction
• Awareness raising on the impacts and solutions for food loss and waste
• Research on policy, strategy and programme development for food loss and waste reduction
• Support to programmes and projects on food loss reduction strategies, implemented by private and public sectors
• A work plan is detailed in the SAVE FOOD Umbrella Programme.
SAVE FOOD is supporting project formulation to implement national programmes on food loss and waste reduction.
The SAVE FOOD Initiative is providing technical support to develop national post-harvest policies and subsector strategies and aims to ensure alignment with national climate change action plans such as the NDCs.
Field case studies to assess causes and solutions to food losses have been completed for food value chains in a number of countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The G20 Technical Platform on the Measurement and Reduction of Food Loss and Waste has been launched (FAO in collaboration with IFPRI).
FAO’s Ex-Ante Carbon-balance Tool (EX-ACT) Value Chain tool has been launched and could potentially support NDC implementation on aspects that relate to food loss reduction and value chain interventions.
SAVE FOOD is providing capacity-building to improve the sustainability of food supply chains, with specific attention to reducing food losses and waste as part of the initiative to Building Resilience to Enhance Food Security and Nutrition in the Near East and North Africa.
SAVE FOOD awareness raising campaigns on food loss and waste reduction have been launched in Asia.
SAVE FOOD is supporting capacity-development to improve post-harvest technologies in developing countries (for instance related to cold chains, processing, storage and packaging).
SAVE FOOD has developed education material for schools to create awareness on the issue of food waste.
Food losses including post-harvest losses directly result in less food being available with severe impacts on rural poverty, hunger and malnutrition. As such, food losses represent a lost opportunity to ensure food security and nutrition for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities, particularly women and indigenous people. This is likely to be aggravated due to increasing climatic variability, extreme events, and outbreaks of pests and diseases altogether undermining efforts to cope with climate change.
SAVE FOOD recognizes that reducing food losses across the supply chain is crucial for strengthening adaptation, risk reduction and resilience measures in post-harvest systems and to ensure adequate food and nutrition while reducing rural poverty. Through causes and solutions finding as well as support to manage interventions, SAVE FOOD aims to build capacity to reduce food losses and strengthen resilience. SAVE FOODs food loss reduction activities (many being LDCs and SIDS) are therefore targeted at enhancing capacities of small-scale farmers and businesses and their access to information systems and technologies in order to ensure resilient food supply chains at local level.
Global food loss and waste is a major contributor to climate change and accounts for about 8 percent of total global GHG emissions (3.6 Gt of CO2eq/yr plus 0.8 Gt of CO2eq/yr from land use change). The bulk of GHG missions from food loss and waste are generated during production phase. Except for fertilizer production, emissions at this stage are predominantly non-energy related and arise from the agriculture production. In the post-production phase, processing, transportation and particularly refrigeration are the most emission-intensive components of post-harvest systems. Food waste in landfills also emits GHG emissions in the form of methane.
In terms of actual tracking FAO through the SAVE FOOD Initiative is providing support to its member countries in measuring progress towards the achievement of SDG 12, Target 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”. This includes the development of the Global Food Loss and Waste Indicators (FAO is the custodian of the official indicator for SDG 12.3), the Food Loss Assessment Methodology as well as the Food Loss and Waste Standard, led by the World Resources Institute. The standard aims to enable a wide range of entities - countries, companies and other organizations - to account for and report in a credible, practical and internationally consistent manner on how much food loss and waste is created and identify where it occurs, enabling the targeting of efforts to reduce it.
SAVE FOOD considers that only the private sector (including farmers, industry and retailers) can drive meaningful reductions in food loss and waste through finance and investment into sustainable food value chains.
While certain storage improvements such as hermetic bags and silos are low cost solutions which can improve resilience, a transformation in energy and technology infrastructure along the food value chain requires significant investment. Emphasis should therefore be targeted at identifying enabling policy frameworks and encourage appropriate policy incentives to leverage private sector finance and investment needed for operationalization. Bringing together governments, food producers and investors can help to identify challenges and opportunities for addressing deficiencies in post-harvest systems and mobilize climate finance to implement action on the ground.
Emilie Wieben, FAO
+39 06 570 55541