The initiative includes multiple points of intervention in the food system: addressing food waste in the full value chain; investigating socio-technological innovations in the production landscape; private sector engagement around sustainable diets; a policy review and development of a sustainable food system policy framework; support to South African Government in delivering its 10YFP SFS Programme commitments. All from a multi-stakeholder approach with links to partner activities.

Implemented in

  • Africa

Sectors of activity
Food & Beverage, Waste, incl. Chemicals, Environmental Services

Type of initiative
Capacity Building & Implementation, Policy Frameworks & Tools, Research, Analysis, Assessment

Type of lead actor
Civil society

Start date


To promote food production and consumption to the top of the policymaker’s agenda through five main objectives:

• To identify the causes of food waste and loss and identify opportunities to halve food loss and waste by 2025.

• To reduce the footprint of diets by engaging the private sector in efforts, including creating and piloting better consumption engagement models with partners, to ensure consumption patterns are shifted towards an environmentally and socially sustainable trajectory.

• To support national government in achieving the SDG 2 and 12 and, crucially, to use the platform of the UNEP Sustainable Food System target and government’s pivotal role in this to catalyse collective efforts to reduce the impact of food production on the environment.

• To ensure long term impact and scale by building capacity and working in partnership with government, private sector and local and international organisations committed to establishing a resource smart food system.


In 2016 the International Resource Panel’s assessment of the global food system acknowledged that there was still much to be done to identify the points of intervention and the actions required to establish a “resource smart” food system. In recognition of this need for a systemic approach WWF South Africa launched a multifaceted project with activities which target multiple points of intervention in the food system.

1. Food waste and loss: 1. Awareness raising and advocacy. 2. Establishing a knowledge sharing platform to improve the development of industry appropriate solutions. 3. Driving a voluntary agreement for food industry measuring and reporting of waste.

2. Ecological resilience: Research project supported by a multi-stakeholder dialogue focused on drivers of change and innovation in agricultural production technology, finance and other institutions and projection of future investment scenarios.

3. Sustainable diets: 1. Research and engagement the top ten stock exchange listed FMCG companies to clarify exposure to risk in the context of negative social and environmental outcomes defining the food system. 2. Create a platform to stimulate collaborative response.

4. Policy Environment: 1. Support the DTI’s SFS programme deliverables through, amongst other actions, a secondment of a WWF staff member into the DTI and supporting delivery of the first global SFS conference. 2. Food, nutrition and agriculture policy review and policymaker engagement process to support process of policy alignment for food security within a resource smart food system.

Impact and Results

The overall result should be a greater awareness of where to intervene in the system for greater positive impact. This systemic intervention will be informed by results in specific project areas:

- Full value chain: Food waste advocacy
Strengthened organisational capacity and strengthened alliances. Outreach and advocacy also results in strengthened support base for food waste reduction actions leading to improved policy and voluntary food industry commitments.

- Production: Innovation research and dialogue
Unique research identifies new drivers of change and risks of unsustainable production, scenario analysis facilitates dialogue around the implications of and leading to action on policy aligned with SDG 12

- Consumption: Sustainable diets action in food industry
Driving accountability within the food industry and leading to improved policy and/or voluntary food industry action
Local and International Policy:

- Strengthened institutional capacity and strengthened alliances. Food security policy framework promotes the adoption of evidenced based policies across government department silos for a sustainable food system

International context: SFS Food Programme Co-Lead: WWF and South African government deliver on their co-lead responsibilities enabling a transition towards a sustainable food system and influence of the programme extended into the region (SDG 2, 12)

Next steps and how to get involved

Contact Nomahlubi
Tatjana von Bormann: