Following Champions 12.3 lead in LatAm

Followers of this blog may recall our November 9, 2017 story announcing Homera's proud entry into the Champions 12.3 food-waste coalition, the amazing group of businesses, NGOs and governments "dedicated to inspiring ambition, mobilizing action and accelerating progress toward achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Target 12.3," as reads the Champions website, referring to the goal of halving global food waste by 2030, the year all 17 SDGs are slated for completion.

Our stated mission as a member of the Friends of Champions 12.3 support group is to bring the leading-edge, global and SDG-focused work of this marvelous organization to our home base in Latin America, where Champions 12.3 has three of the 41 members of its senior ranks (the Champions) and three of the 17 companies or NGOs that belong to Friends, ourselves included.

It has been nearly three months since our joining, so we thought we'd bring you up to date on some fantastic initiatives being reported by the Champions 12.3 team, precisely the kind we, working hand-in-hand with our LatAm compañeros y compañeras, would love to launch or, where they already exist, highlight, celebrate and SPREAD. Again, it's all about inspiring, mobilizing and accelerating.

Most of the action is taking place in Europe, the U.S. and Australia. There's the large British retailer and Champions 12.3 leader Tesco announcing the elimination of all food waste unfit for consumption, and the likes of ABP Food and Hovis signing the Courtauld Food Waste Commitment, also in the UK. We're out to get similar commitments in this region!

A recent study in the U.S. by Drexel University in Philadelphia found high consumer acceptance of food waste as ingredients in the foods we eat, or so-called value-added surplus products (VASPs). Consumers placed VASPs roughly on a par with organic food, attributing similar benefits in terms of health and environmental sustainability. So how about a VASP acceptance and marketing study in LatAm by one of our fine universities?

Additionally, large multinational food companies have begun using the 17 SDGs as a template or framework for their operations, including 12.3, as reported by Champions and various news outlets in recent months. Small and midsize businesses (SMBs), by contrast, remain largely outside the loop, which suggests a massive opportunity for us to join corporations, governments and NGOs in LatAm to inspire, mobilize and accelerate advanced food-waste practices among our SMBs.

I can go on, but you get the message. As the only truly global coalition tied directly to Target 12.3, Champions provides a window to food-waste initiatives taking place around the world that members of the group can then learn from and/or bring to each one's location. In fact, we at Homera are hard at work with the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce and others organizing a landmark initiative to boost the 17 SDGs across the Western Hemisphere. Twelve point three will certainly play a role.

One event we will follow closely in that regard is the annual UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development to be held July 9-18, where countries submit Voluntary National Reviews and leading authorities update the progress being made. Each year, the group examines some of the 17, not all of them every year, and this July, Goal 12 will be included, along with 6, 7, 11, 15 and 17. Some 13 LatAm countries have pledged to submit VNRs, and we will be there along with our Champions compadres and comadres to push for the greatest inspiration, mobilization and acceleration possible on Target 12.3.

Stay tuned.