Global Standard to Measure Food Loss and Waste

COPENHAGEN//WASHINGTON (June 6, 2016)— A partnership of leading international organizations is launching the Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard at the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) 2016 Summit in Copenhagen. The FLW Standard is the first-ever set of global definitions and reporting requirements for companies, countries and others to consistently and credibly measure, report on and manage food loss and waste. The standard comes as a growing number of governments, companies and other entities are making commitments to reduce food loss and waste.

“This standard is a real breakthrough. For the first time, armed with the standard, countries and companies will be able to quantify how much food is lost and wasted, where it occurs, and report on it in a highly credible and consistent manner,” said Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute. “There’s simply no reason that so much food should be lost and wasted. Now, we have a powerful new tool that will help governments and businesses save money, protect resources and ensure more people get the food they need.”

The Food Loss and Waste Protocol is a multi-stakeholder partnership convened by World Resources Institute and initiated at the 3GF 2013 Summit. FLW Protocol partners include: The Consumer Goods Forum, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), EU-funded FUSIONS project, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme) and World Resources Institute.

“Waste makes everybody poorer. I am pleased that a new strong alliance between public and private actors will provide an efficient answer to the global challenge of food loss and waste. 3GF has promoted yet another green and innovative solution to global challenges,” said Kristian Jensen, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Denmark. “The new Food Loss and Waste Standard will reduce economic losses for the consumer and food industry, alleviate the pressure on natural resources and contribute to realizing the ambitious goals set out in the SDGs. We need to push for more solutions like this for the benefit of people, profit and the planet.”

International momentum to curb food loss and waste is growing with governments and businesses making commitments to address this issue. However, most do not know how much food is lost or wasted or where it occurs within their borders, operations or supply chains. Moreover, the definition of food loss and waste varies widely and without a consistent accounting and reporting framework it has been difficult to compare data and develop effective stratégies.

Creating inventories in conformance with the FLW Standard is a critical foundation to develop effective strategies for reducing food loss and waste and monitor progress over time. Moreover, it can help governments and companies meet international commitments, including the Paris Agreement on climate change and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular, SDG Target 12.3 calls for a 50 percent global reduction in food waste by 2030, along with reductions in food loss.

The FLW Standard will also help reduce food loss and waste within the private sector. In 2015, The Consumer Goods Forum, which represents more than 400 of the world’s largest retailers and manufacturers from 70 countries, adopted a resolution for its members to reduce food waste from their operations by 50 percent by 2025, with baselines and progress to be measured using the FLW Standard. Some leading companies, like Nestlé and Tesco, are already measuring and publicly reporting on their food loss and waste.

The FLW Protocol can be found on the website,





Toine Timmermans, Project Coordinator for EU-FUSIONS: “Measuring the level of food waste in a structured way is critical for developing effective strategies that focus on reducing food waste and monitoring progress at the business, national and EU level, as well as contributing to the achievement of SDG Target 12.3. The EU-FUSIONS' Food Waste Framework and Quantification Manual is fully synchronized with the Food Loss and Waste Protocol's FLW Standard. This enables users of the FUSIONS manual which are monitoring and reporting on food waste amounts and trends over time to be harmonized with the requirements of the global accounting and reporting standard.”

Peter Bakker, President and CEO, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD): Wasting a third of the food we produce is a clear symptom of a global food system in trouble. The FLW Standard is pivotal to setting a reliable baseline for streamlined and efficient action on the ground for countries, cities, and small and big businesses along the food value chain. Together with tangible business solutions, the FLW Standard can help to significantly reduce food loss and waste around the globe.”

Paul Bulcke, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé: “As a member of Champions 12.3, I am convinced that by working together, we can develop effective solutions to reduce food loss and waste, to help the world meet Sustainable Development Goal Target 12.3. Nestlé will play its part. Bold action is what matters, and we are already committed to sending zero waste for disposal from our sites by 2020. Such actions benefit society by supporting rural development, water conservation and food security, and help us ensure that our sourcing is more sustainable. The Food Loss and Waste Protocol is instrumental to help us achieve this goal.

Peter Freedman, Managing Director, The Consumer Goods Forum: “Food waste is a $940 billion problem. In 2015, our members committed to halving food waste and we see the FLW Standard as an important tool to help us achieve this ambitious target. Our members need to effectively quantify, measure and report on their food loss and waste, and the FLW Standard will help them do this with consistency and transparency.”

Dr. Liz Goodwin, Chief Executive Officer, WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme): “WRAP’s work to help reduce household waste in the UK by 21 percent was only possible through our ground-breaking analysis to quantify how much and where it was wasted. Food waste is not confined by borders, so WRAP is delighted to have helped develop the Food Loss and Waste Standard. I am confident it will empower businesses, governments, and other organisations to take action on an international scale, an outcome that WRAP will strongly support.”

Dave Lewis, Chief Executive Officer, Tesco: “We are pleased to have been the first UK retailer to publish third party-assured food waste data for our own operations and will continue to do so every year. This transparency and hard evidence is a cornerstone of our food waste work. Not only has this allowed us to identify where there are food waste hotspots in our own operations, it has also helped us to take action in those areas of food loss and waste. The new FLW Standard provides a common framework for measuring food loss and waste, and I hope this will enable others to publish their data and take action to tackle this important issue.”

Achim Steiner, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP): “The scale of the problem of food loss and waste can be difficult to comprehend. Having this new standard by which to measure food loss and waste will not only help us understand just how much food is not making it to our mouths, but will help set a baseline for action. UNEP welcomes the new FLW Standard and calls on countries and companies to use it to start measuring and reporting food loss and waste, in parallel to taking action to deliver on SDG Target 12.3: Halve food waste by 2030.”


World Resources Institute
WRI is a global research organization that spans more than 50 countries, with offices in the United States, China, India, Brazil, and more. Our more than 550 experts and staff work closely with leaders to turn big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being (


Global Green Growth Forum


3GF is a global platform for designing and accelerating solutions to intractable problems that markets and governments have not been able to solve on their own. 3GF enables public-private partnerships that support the large-scale adoption of green technologies, practices and policies. Since its inception in 2011, 3GF has facilitated over 70 unique international public-private partnerships, including Race to the Top, which involves a range of global multi-national retail and clothing companies such as Levi-Strauss & Co, GAP and Nike (



New Champions 12.3 Coalition to inspire action to reduce food loss & waste

30 CEOs, government ministers, global institution executives, and civil society leaders will increase political and social momentum to achieve Target 12.3 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, a coalition of 30 leaders – Champions 12.3 – launched a new effort to inspire ambition and mobilize action to reduce food loss and waste globally. This leadership group aims to accelerate progress toward meeting Target 12.3 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seeks to halve per capita food waste and reduce food losses by 2030.

The Champions include CEOs of major companies, government ministers, and executives of research and intergovernmental institutions, foundations, farmer organizations, and civil society groups. These leaders will work to create political, business and social momentum to reduce food loss and waste around the world.

 The Champions will inspire action by:

  • Leading by example on how to reduce food loss and waste;

  • Motivating others to meet SDG Target 12.3;

  • Communicating the importance of food loss and waste reduction;

  • Showcasing successful food loss and waste reduction strategies; and

  • Advocating for more innovation, greater investment, better information, and increased capacity to reduce food loss and waste.

Today’s announcement takes place during the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, alongside the launch of The Rockefeller Foundation’s new YieldWise initiative, a seven-year, $130 million commitment to halving food loss and waste globally. The Foundation’s President, Dr. Judith Rodin, is also a Champion.

Champions 12.3 will complement and build upon ongoing successful UN programs to reduce food loss and waste including SAVE FOOD and Think.Eat.Save, efforts such as EU FUSIONS and the global Food Loss & Waste Protocol, private sector action like the Consumer Goods Forum’s Food Waste Resolution, and other initiatives. The Champions effort supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals adopted in September 2015. SDG 12 seeks to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Target 12.3 specifically aims to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level, and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses, by 2030.

Inspired by the “No More Food to Waste” conference in The Hague in June of 2015, the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands formally called for the coalition’s formation in September 2015, and is providing secretariat support for Champions 12.3, along with World Resources Institute.

See the full list of champions and get more information at:

European project FUSIONS measures the environmental and socio-economic impacts of food waste

FUSIONS has developed the criteria and a baseline assessment of environmental and socio-economic impacts of food waste. Although this research has shown that there are still some major data gaps for a more comprehensive assessment, these findings can serve as documentation for the existing knowledge base and provide new information on how to proceed towards socio-economic and environmental assessment of the impacts of food waste.


Food waste related emissions in EU-28 is approximatively the equivalent of Netherlands’ total GHG emissions  

The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology was used to carry out environmental assessment of food waste, which accounts for emissions from cradle to grave covering most of the steps of the food supply chain. Two approaches were tested: bottom-up approach, starting from specific indicator products and ending with an extrapolation of results to the total food consumed, and top-down approach, starting from greenhouse gas emissions at an aggregated level over certain steps of the food supply chain and ending at results for emissions related to the total consumed and wasted food. Results for the total global warming potential (GWP) associated with food consumed in the EU in 2011 arrive at a very similar figure for both approaches (around 1,380 Million tonnes CO2 eq.). Food waste related emissions estimated at 16% to 22% of the total emissions of consumed food, which is 227 Mt CO2 eq. in the bottom-up approach and 304 Mt CO2 eq. in the top-down approach respectively. The top-down approach appears to offer a rapid way of approximating the Global Warming Potential whereas the bottom-up approach provides results on an indicator product level and from the perspective of the polluter pays principle, which can serve as a good basis to set targeted waste prevention activities. The latter has also been extended to calculate the acidification and eutrophication impacts of food waste.

Estimated amount of vitamin C lost in a year as a result of food waste, corresponds to a daily intake of 90 million people 

The impact on health and nutritional factors was analysed using nutrients, micronutrients and partly anti-nutritional factors. Based on NL and SE composition data base, results of the baseline assessment show that the estimated amount of vitamin C that is lost in the EU in a year (2011) as a result of food waste is equivalent to the amount of vitamin C that is needed by 90 and 97 million people a day respectively. Losses of retinol equivalents equal the amount needed for 407 and 150 million people a day in NL and SE respectively. Losses of total dietary fibre are estimated equal the amount needed for 139 and 173 million people a day in NL and SE respectively and losses of total iron to 157 and 169 million people a day in NL and SE respectively. Losses of zinc amount to 181 and 210 million people a day regarding their recommended intake on nutrients. For a more accurate assessment of the composition of food waste, disaggregated nutrient concentrations of inedible parts and food waste data on the product and product category level are needed as well as data on nutrient concentrations with food waste data on a corresponding level of detail (product level versus product group level).

Comparative analysis: micro- and macro-economic theory, behavioural insights, and scenario analyses reveal new insights

Socio-economic causes of food loss and waste (FLW) were detected in a theoretical framework that encompasses micro-economic theory, behavioural economics, and macro-economics. The analysis shows that causes at the farm and firm (business) level include limited market access and weak competitiveness while at consumer level low purchasing power and low planning capacity are listed. At the macro-economic level relevant factors such as inadequate infrastructure in developing countries and food price inflation were revealed. FLW prevention and reduction is taking place in the EU concurrently to actions in other Regions and the potential impacts on food prices and welfare need to be researched and projected for intra- and inter-regional impacts (FAO/LEI, 2015). This research also shows that high level considerations on the socio-economic impacts of food loss and waste need to be balanced with a value chain analysis. For instance, if food becomes cheaper, households may waste more or trade-up and spend the saved income from the reduction of food waste for other services or higher quality food. 

Food redistribution plays a key role in improving food security and integrating marginalised social groups within the society 

The assessment of the impacts of food banks and other initiatives aimed at the food supply to marginalised social groups was carried out using the methodology of social capital (World Bank). The methodology was tested through a distribution of a questionnaire to 211 food redistribution organisations in Europe with a response rate of 15%. The results showed that food redistribution not only can have a positive effect on food security and safety but also on the basic components of social capital, in particular trust, networks, and cooperation. In a thorough literature review, social, economic and psychological impacts of food redistribution activities as well as impacts on nutrition and health were furthermore detected for different stakeholders: impacts on people in need (e.g. overcoming individual isolation, increasing purchasing power, improving nutritional situation and self-determination), impacts on people involved in redistribution activities (e.g. compliance with social and ethical norms, education and training), impacts on donors (corporate social responsibility e.g. impact on staff morale, but also e.g. reputational risk or tax benefits) and impacts on communities and society in general (e.g. public education impact, dignity and social justice, crime rate).

All reports can be downloaded at  




Food is used to cover both food & drink. 

According to the FUSIONS definition the term food waste is referring to a fraction of food and inedible parts removed from the food supply chain going to recovery or disposal (incl. composting).


FUSIONS (Food Use for Social Innovation by Optimising Waste Prevention Strategies) is working towards achieving a more resource efficient Europe by significantly reducing food waste. The project which runs for 4 years, from August 2012 to July 2016, is funded by the European Commission framework programme 7 and brings together 21 partners from across Europe under the coordination of Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research. Its overall objective is to contribute to the harmonisation of food waste monitoring and the development of food waste related policy for EU28. The External Expert Advisory Board includes representatives from EC DG Environment, DG SANCO, DG AGRI, FoodDrinkEurope, UNEP, OECD, and WWF.



Link to FUSIONS Press Release: European project FUSIONS measures the environmental and socio-economic impacts of food waste



For further information contact:

  • BOKU, main author of FUSIONS report on environmental and socio-economic impacts / Silvia Scherhaufer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • SIK, leading on FUSIONS Quantification Work Package / Karin Östergren : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
  • Wageningen UR, Coordinator to FUSIONS / Toine Timmermans : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  


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Conference in Milan: 'Tackling Food Waste: The Consumer Co-operative Way'

The European Commission together with the European Community of Consumer Co-operatives and ANCC/Coop Italy are pleased to invite you to the conference: “Tackling Food Waste: The Consumer Co-operative Way”. Tacking place the day after the European Commission’s event: “Fight Food Waste, Feed the Planet”, the forum will be occasion to look at food waste from a hands-on perspective and explore new tracks in addressing the issue.

New four year EU project on food waste: “REFRESH” (Resource Efficient Food and dRink for the Entire Supply cHain)!

Across the globe, nearly 30% of food is wasted throughout the agrifood supply chain. The EU Horizon 2020 funded project "Resource Efficient Food and dRink for the Entire Supply cHain" (REFRESH) takes action against food waste. 26 partners from 12 European countries and China work towards the project's goal to contribute towards the objectives of reducing food waste across Europe by 30% by 2025, reducing waste management costs, and maximizing the value from unavoidable food waste and packaging materials. REFRESH runs from 2015-2019.

A third of food is wasted, making food waste the third-biggest carbon emitter

Around 100 million tonnes of food are wasted annually in the EU (estimate for 2012). Modelling suggests if nothing is done, food waste could rise to over 120 million tonnes by 2020. The food resources being lost and wasted in Europe would be enough to feed all the hungry people in the world two times over (European Commission 2015). Together with moving to healthier diets, reducing food waste both in and out of the home is the most significant demand-side measure for reducing the carbon impact of the food system.

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