Food waste is a recognised global and South African issue.  An estimated 12.6 million tonnes[1] of food is wasted per year in South Africa (a third of the food available).  This in a context where approximately 60% of South African households are food insecure (30%[2] at risk of and 31%[3] experiencing hunger), and more than 13 million children live in poverty[4].  Food waste also has a significant impact on the environment due to methane gas produced when food spoils, in addition precious resources such as water, labour and energy are wasted, and biodiversity is impacted. (Refs)

If food wastage were a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitting country in the world.  This is unsustainable.

South Africa’s food waste voluntary agreement intends to respond to this urgent challenge through a public, collaborative declaration of intent to reduce food waste and redistribute or enable markets for nutritious surplus food.  The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) and the national Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) have been working with South Africa’s food supply chain (from farm to plate), to develop and implement a national voluntary agreement.


To this end, the Agreement’s vision is to collectively commit to:

Prevent. Reduce. Redistribute. Reuse. Report

South Africa’s food waste voluntary agreement has been formulated around our nation’s in-country capacity to turn this situation around.  As such, the agreement has been developed by South African’s for South Africa.  In addition, it recognises, is informed by and aligns with international and national sustainability and waste initiatives, such as those developed by the Champions 12.3 Group and the World Resources Institute’s 10 “scaling interventions”  to accelerate progress towards achieving the SDG 12.3 goal, and locally by Operation Phakisa Chemicals & Waste Economy.

  • De Lange & Nahman 2015:  10.2mt edible and 2.4mt non-edible
  • South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
  • Statistics South Africa General Household Survey 2016
  • Statistics South Africa 2015