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Food Loss and Food Waste

Approximately 30% of food produced for human consumption around the world is either lost or wasted each year. This is equivalent to 1.3 billion tonnes of food, USD 1 trillion in economic costs, around USD 700 billion in environmental costs and around USD 900 billion in social costs.

Actively preventing and reducing food loss and waste.

FAO’s approach to prevent and reduce food loss and waste is driven by the broader vision of sustainable food systems and food and nutrition security for all.

FAO is working along the entire food supply chain, from production, post-harvest, storage and processing to distribution and end consumers.

FAO is supporting global, regional, national and locally appropriate policies, and technical interventions, as well as promoting results through incentives and regulatory frameworks. 

The Organization works with the public and private sector, and civil society, through the Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction.

Key policy messages

  • Food loss and waste can and must be drastically prevented and reduced. Investing in prevention yields more safe and nutritious food for human consumption than investing only in increasing food production.
  • Food loss and waste represents economic losses for all actors along food supply chains, including end consumers. It also represents a highly inefficient use of resources (e.g. labour, water, energy and land) as well as avoidable climate change and social impacts.
  • Tackling food loss and waste is a defined target within the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDG Target 12.3, which also contributes directly to SDG Target 12.5 and SDG Goal 2) and a key component of the Zero Hunger Challenge.
  • The drivers for change are awareness raising combined with evidence based policies that facilitate the identification of targeted incentives and regulatory frameworks. Policies, strategies, interventions and technologies will benefit from improved data availability and quality, harmonization of terminology, definitions and methodologies.
  • Processes that engage jointly the public sector, private sector and civil society will facilitate target setting at local, national, regional, and global level, raise awareness, focus efforts, mobilize resources and guarantee action.

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