New research on behalf of Champions 12.3 found that for every US $1 companies invested to reduce food loss and waste, they saved US $14 in operating costs. The report found that household savings could be much greater.

Nearly one third of all food is lost or wasted globally, costing $940bn per year. Food loss and waste accounts for about 8% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. With this in mind, target 12.3 of the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) aims to halve food waste and reduce food loss globally by 2030.

To help achieve this, 30 CEOs, government ministers, global institution executives, and civil society leaders came together to form Champions 12.3. Its aim is to increase political and social momentum to achieve this 2030 target.

The Champions 12.3 coalition works to create political, business and social momentum to reduce food loss and waste around the world and will inspire action by leading by example, motivating others to reduce food waste and communicating the importance of food loss and waste reduction.

In what is being hailed as a “first-of-its kind analysis”, The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste report on behalf of Champions 12.3 evaluated financial cost and benefit data for 1,200 sites across 700 companies in 17 countries, finding that nearly every site realised a positive return on its investment to reduce food waste.

The types of investments companies made include: quantifying and monitoring food loss and waste, training staff on practices to reduce waste, changing food storage and handling processes, changing packaging to extend shelf-life, changing date labels, and other staff and technology investments.

The 14:1 return on investment comes from not buying food that would have been lost or wasted, increasing the share of food that is sold to customers, introducing new product lines made from food that otherwise would have been lost or wasted, reducing waste management costs and other savings, Champions 12.3 says.

Dave Lewis, group chief executive of Tesco and chair of Champions 12.3, said: “A third of the world’s food is wasted – and yet almost a billion people go to bed hungry each night. That simply cannot be right. But even if the moral imperative doesn’t move us, the clear business case should swing people to act.

“What this research shows is that there’s now no social, environmental or economic reason why we should not come together and take action to reduce food waste.”

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