Save Food initiative


Name of initiative Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction – SAVE FOOD
LPAA initiative Yes
NAZCA Initiative Yes
Website address
Related initiatives
Starting year 2011
End year
Secretariat Emilie Wieben, FAO, phone: +39 06 570 55541, e-mail:
Organisational structure More than 700 partners representing farmers, industry, policy-makers and civil society. FAO is collaborating with donors, bi- and multi-lateral agencies and financial institutions and private sector partners to develop and implement the SAVE FOOD Initiative.

The lead partners are FAO and Messe Dusseldorf. The available resources are organizational resources and donor funding.

Geographical coverage Global
Name of lead organisation Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Type of lead organisation United Nations or Specialised agency
Location/Nationality of lead organisation Italy


Description This is a unique partnership led by FAO, with over 500 companies and organizations from industry and civil society active in food loss and waste reduction. It aims to drive innovations, promote interdisciplinary dialogue and spark debates to generate solutions across the entire value chain, “from field to fork”. This initiative has recently developed a technical platform, that will be launched in the coming days, to measure and reduce food loss and waste. Altogether, this should allow a major reduction in agriculture emissions, as global food waste and loss account for 3.3Gt of CO2 equivalent per year.
Objectives Correcting the policy framework --> We call on the global community to meet its millennium goals. Eradicating hunger is among the top priorities here.

Optimizing agricultural practices --> We urgently advocate more sustainability, new methods for efficient crop cultivation and harvesting, and fighting losses through conservation of resources. Shaping food production more sensibly --> We appeal to enterprises to steer demand and consumer behaviour better and to choose more sustainable production methods. Promoting packaging and process technology --> We call for smart and sustainable production and packaging concepts to improve the supply of food to a growing global population. Motivating retailers --> We see potentials for optimizing assortments, the supply chain, logistics and waste recycling in order to combat food losses. Achieving a change in attitude --> We want to fight the widespread “throwaway” mindset and raise people’s awareness of and respect for food.

Activities The SAVE FOOD Initiative has developed a methodology for these assessments, which emphasizes the importance of considering food loss solutions in the context of national climate change action plans and strategies. The SAVE FOOD Initiative is also providing technical support to develop national post-harvest policies and subsector strategies. This provides an important opportunity to align food loss reduction measures with the NDCs and national climate strategies.

Moreover, a review of the INDCs from Sub-Saharan Africa shows that over half of them include direct or indirect links to food loss reductions such as post-harvest value chain improvements, mainly addressed as part of their adaptation priorities and technology needs. The SAVE FOOD Initiative is well-equipped to provide support to countries towards achieving the emission reduction pledges and adaptation priorities outlined in their NDCs on aspects that relate to FLW reduction, value chain efficiency and food systems in general. Therefore, in response to the new Global Climate Action Agenda and whereas appropriate, FAO will support the mainstreaming of climate change in national food loss and waste reduction activities in member countries towards strengthening the NDC implementation and impact of reduction measures. Food loss reduction strategies and policies will be aligned with national climate change and sustainable development objectives and priorities with the aim of attracting international climate financing and mobilizing private sector investment for technology transfer and implementation. Latest news from partners:

One or two success stories achieved Fish smoking and drying are preservation techniques that are widely used in small-scale fisheries communities in developing coastal regions. Processing fish is also an important strategy to reduce losses by significantly increasing shelf-life of the product. This is advantageous compared to fresh or frozen fish which requires cold storage that is largely inaccessible due to electricity scarcity in rural areas. Fish smoking techniques in West and Central Africa are traditionally based on open kilns using mangrove wood as the main source of fuel. However, open kilns are highly energy inefficient, release contaminants and the dependence on mangrove fuel has been a significant driver of degradation of mangrove forests in the region. A new and easy-to-assemble fish smoking and drying technology pioneered by FAO has been developed to improve to energy efficiency in rural communities by using 50 percent less wood fuel compared to traditional open-type smoking rafts. The FAO-Thiaroye fish processing technology (FTT-Thiaroye) is also helping to reduce health hazards, improve food safety and quality, improve working conditions and cut down food losses in many small-scale fishing communities. The FTT consists of a dual functioning smoking oven and mechanical drier and is specifically designed to improve fuel-efficiency in small-scale fish smoking by encapsulating heat and smoke. Agricultural residues such as coconut husks, sugar-cane bagasse or manure can also be utilized as fuel in substitution for mangrove wood. Reducing the intensity of mangrove wood harvesting are expected to benefit the mangrove ecosystems and biodiversity through reduced deforestation and degradation of mangrove forests. This is also contributing to climate change mitigation as mangroves have some of the highest carbon sequestration potential of all terrestrial forest while building resilience to climate impacts through coastline protection. The FTT-Thairoye technology also does not release any contaminants such as carcinogens and tar directly onto the product, and is therefore in compliance with international food standards and other safety requirements while reducing quality losses during smoking. Additionally, processing operations can be conducted in any season thereby enabling drying activities during rainy and cloudy periods, which prevent losses otherwise due to insects, pests and spoilage from open air exposure. This protects businesses and commercial activities of small-scale fish operators from quality and market force losses. The technology has now been tested and adapted in 13 countries in Africa and Asia.

Monitoring and Impacts

Function of initiative Implementation, Funding
Activity of initiative Technical operational implementation (ex-post), Fundraising
Goals The overall objective of the SAVE FOOD Initiative is to reduce global food loss and waste towards ensuring more productive, resilient and low-emission food systems. SAVE FOOD recognizes that food loss and waste reduction is cross-cutting in the context of climate action and offers a key pathway to cut emissions and boost resilience in food systems. Increasing food availability through food loss and waste reduction is crucial for ensuring food and nutrition security and will help to strengthen adaptation, risk reduction and resilience measures in vulnerable populations and regions. In addition, addressing the food loss and waste challenge through the deployment of climate technologies along the value chain presents an additional opportunity to enhance the mitigation potential in food systems and mobilize climate finance.

Quantitatively, FAO through the SAVE FOOD Initiative will provide assistance to its member countries towards delivering on SDG 12.3: “By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses”.

SAVE FOOD is also supporting efforts to achieve regional objectives such as: Commitments made under the African Union Malabo Declaration to halve post-harvest losses in Africa by the year 2025.

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) has included in the PLAN SAN CELAC halving the amount of per capita food and loss waste by 2030.

The qualitative and operational objectives are to enhance collaboration among partners and increase awareness in efforts to influence more sustainable production and consumption patterns. Stronger involvement from the private sector (farmers, industry) towards driving and investing in sustainable solutions is particularly one of the main objectives.

The work/roadmap of the SAVE FOOD Initiative is based on four pillars: • Collaboration and coordination of world-wide initiatives on food loss and waste reduction • Awareness raising on the impacts and solutions for food loss and waste • Research on policy, strategy and programme development for food loss and waste reduction • Support to programmes and projects on food loss reduction strategies, implemented by private and public sectors • A work plan is detailed in the SAVE FOOD Umbrella Programme.

Comments on indicators and goals The initiative responds to SDG Indicator 12.3.1:

How will goals be achieved By promoting a sustainable food system approach.
Have you changed or strenghtened your goals
Progress towards the goals SAVE FOOD is supporting project formulation to implement national programmes on food loss and waste reduction.

The SAVE FOOD Initiative is providing technical support to develop national post-harvest policies and subsector strategies and aims to ensure alignment with national climate change action plans such as the NDCs. Field case studies to assess causes and solutions to food losses have been completed for food value chains in a number of countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The G20 Technical Platform on the Measurement and Reduction of Food Loss and Waste has been launched (FAO in collaboration with IFPRI). FAO’s Ex-Ante Carbon-balance Tool (EX-ACT) Value Chain tool has been launched and could potentially support NDC implementation on aspects that relate to food loss reduction and value chain interventions. SAVE FOOD is providing capacity-building to improve the sustainability of food supply chains, with specific attention to reducing food losses and waste as part of the initiative to Building Resilience to Enhance Food Security and Nutrition in the Near East and North Africa. SAVE FOOD awareness raising campaigns on food loss and waste reduction have been launched in Asia. SAVE FOOD is supporting capacity-development to improve post-harvest technologies in developing countries (for instance related to cold chains, processing, storage and packaging). SAVE FOOD has developed education material for schools to create awareness on the issue of food waste. FAO recently launched the Food Loss and Waste database, which is the largest online collection of data on both food loss and food waste and causes reported throughout the literature. The database contains data and information from openly accessible reports and studies measuring food loss and waste across food products, stages of the value chain, and geographical areas. The database is accessible here:

How are you tracking progress of your initiative As a custodian agency for SDG Indicator 12.3.1, FAO will be responsible for:

Collecting data from national sources, validating and harmonizing them, estimating regional and global aggregates and making them available for international reporting.

Contributing to annual SDG progress reports, feeding into the High-Level Political Forum’s follow-up and review processes. Flagship publications are set to broaden their scope to include both a storyline and statistical annexes on relevant SDG indicators under FAO custodianship.

Establishing partnerships with other international agencies to monitor the increased number of indicators, crucial to achieving interrelated goals.

Available reporting


Participants Number Names
Members 1000  
Companies 0
Business organisations 0
Research and educational organisations 0
Non-governmental organisations 0
National states 0
Governmental actors 0
Regional / state / county actors 0
City / municipal actors 0
Intergovernmental organisations 0
Financial Institutions 0
Faith based organisations 0
Other members 1000 Currently,  the SAVE FOOD network has more than 1000 members-public and private,  big and small - from all regions of the world,  and in all sectors and sub-sectors of food systems.
Supporting partners 5 FAO (Italy),  Messe Dusseldorf (Germany),  UN Environment - UNEP (Kenya),  World Food Programme - WFP (Italy),  International Fund For Agricultural Development - IFAD (Italy).
Number of members in the years
Have only national states as participators No


Transport Agriculture Forestry Business Financial institutions Buildings Industry Waste Cities and subnational governments Short Term Pollutants International maritime transport Energy Supply Fluorinated gases Energy efficiency Renewable energy Supply chain emission reductions Adaptation Other Resilience Innovation Energy Access and Efficiency Private Finance
No Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No No No Yes No No No No No
Last update: 8 November 2019 14:50:41

Not only have national states as participators