Battling the global food waste problem, the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) recently passed a resolution pledging to reduce food waste by half within its 400 retail and manufacturing members by 2025. The resolution, passed by CGF’s board of directors, also commits to supporting wider UN goals on food waste.

Food waste has become a global problem. According to CGF, it represents an economic cost to the global economy of $750 billion per year, and if food waste were a country, its carbon footprint would be third only to China and the US. Because consumers are either unsure of a product’s quality or safety, 21 percent of the available food in the US goes uneaten each year, according to USDA estimates.

“The CGF commitment to reduce food waste strikes at the heart of the global climate and development challenge,” says Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever. “It is a tragedy that up to 2 billion tons of food produced around the world is lost or wasted, never making it onto a plate. At a time of growing food insecurity and climate change, we can’t afford to let this continue. This resolution marks a step change in industry leadership and is an important contribution to the longer-term sustainable development agenda.”

As the third resolution in CGF’s sustainability pillar, the new commitments complement resolutions made in 2010 on achieving zero net deforestation by 2020 and beginning the phaseout of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants by 2015.

“The resolution on food waste the CGF board of directors has adopted demonstrates our willingness to engage and take action in an area where a collective industry effort can make a difference,” says Paul Bulcke, CEO of Nestlé S.A. “We will leverage the best practices we have developed for the implementation of the existing resolutions on deforestation and refrigeration to engage the CGF’s wider membership in the global effort on food waste. With this third resolution, we believe that the CGF is taking additional important steps in contributing to the international action on preserving natural resources, especially water, and to limiting the global temperature rise to 2°C.”

The food waste resolution focuses on prevention, cutting food waste at the consumer level and reducing food losses along production and supply chains. To help CGF members work toward this resolution, an implementation plan has been developed. The plan includes key steps that will help develop a baseline; monitoring and public reporting mechanisms; communication and engagement plans; and an implementation toolkit. These will all be supported by food waste-specific events and webinars that will be open to both CGF and non-CGF members.

 The full food waste resolution is available on the CGF website