Halving food waste and raising climate ambition: SDG 12.3 and the Paris Agreement

Asha Bajaj
4 min readOct 3, 2020

Food loss and waste generate an estimated 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions while using land and water resources needlessly and increasing pressure on biodiversity. Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 calls for a halving of food waste at the retail and household level, and a reduction of food loss across the supply chain.

Image credit: Unsplash/Elaine Casap / 30 Sep 2020

Champions 12.3, a high-level coalition formed to deliver this strategic target, counts United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Inger Andersen and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) US Board Member Yolanda Kakabadse among its Champions, and signatories of its September 2020 Global Call to Action on Food Loss and Waste.

As we celebrate the first International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste on September 29th, UNEP talks to Yolanda, former President of WWF International, and former Ecuadorian Minister of Environment, about integrating food loss and waste in national climate strategies and the role of the youth in a shift towards sustainable food consumption.

WWF US Board Member and former Ecuadorian Minister of Environment, Yolanda Kakabadse. Photo by WWF

A new report developed by UNEP, WWF, EAT, and Climate Focus, focuses on how food system interventions should be better integrated into national climate strategies, highlighting the 12.5 Gt CO2eq opportunity to tackle food waste and sustainable diets, which have been largely overlooked in previous Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement. How are Latin American governments considering this opportunity and how can they be supported?

There are initiatives sponsored through the private sector, like Sin Desperdicio. These initiatives are important because they are encouraging public and private sector collaboration and showing value in better transparency and food loss waste target setting. Ultimately, each government needs to make the reduction of food loss and waste part of their NDC. It’s then imperative to see that the private sector and civil society are engaged and agreeing to publicly report food waste levels and set targets for reduction.

Asha Bajaj

I write on national and international Health, Politics, Business, Education, Environment, Biodiversity, Science, First Nations, Humanitarian, gender, women