A new report assesses the world’s progress toward Target 12.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which calls on all nations to halve food waste and reduce food loss by 2030.

The report, “SDG Target 12.3 on Food Loss and Waste: 2016 Progress Report,” produced by Champions 12.3, a coalition of leaders from government, business and civil society, recommends nations, cities and businesses in the food supply chain move quickly to set reduction targets, measure progress and take action to reduce food loss and waste.

Champions 12.3, Washington, D.C., entails secretary of agriculture Tom Vilsack; EPA administrator Gina McCarthy; John Bryant, chairman and CEO of Kellogg Co.; Shenggen Fan, director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute; former White House chef Sam Kass; Denise Morrison, president and CEO of Campbell Soup Co.; Raymond Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America; Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation; Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute; and Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.  

According to the report, the U.S. government and U.S.-based organizations have taken a number of notable steps over the past year to reduce food loss and waste.

For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the U.S. 2030 Food Loss and Waste Reduction Goal, calling for reduction of food loss and waste by half by the year 2030.  

The Rockefeller Foundation launched YieldWise, a $130 million investment to demonstrate practical approaches to halving food loss and waste by 2030.

To educate consumers about ways to reduce waste, the Ad Council and Natural Resources Defense Council launched a nationwide public education campaign called Save the Food.

However, considering the enormous scope of the food loss and waste challenge, the United States and other countries need to do more. The report offers three recommendations for leaders to meet Target 12.3 by 2030:

Target. Targets set ambition, and ambition motivates action. Every country, major city and company involved in the food supply chain should set food loss and waste reduction targets consistent with Target 12.3 to ensure sufficient attention and focus.

Measure. What gets measured gets managed. The report recommends governments and companies quantify and report on food loss and waste and monitor progress over time through 2030.

Act. Impact only occurs if people act. Governments and companies should accelerate and scale up adoption of policies, incentives, investments and practices that reduce food loss and waste.