The Leanpath 12.3 Initiative

Helping to catalyze the global effort to cut food waste in half by 2030


Together, we can achieve Target 12.3

The United Nations’ Sustainability Goal 12.3 calls on the world to cut its food waste in half by 2030. To achieve this ambitious goal we are all called on to increase our efforts in preventing food waste from occurring.

Since 2004, Leanpath has helped foodservice organizations cut their food waste by an average of 50 percent. With the Leanpath 12.3 Initiative, we are expanding the reach of this work by helping selected resource-constrained educational and non-profit organizations around the globe accelerate and deepen their efforts toward food waste prevention. We recognize that there are many small organizations in need of some assistance (financial or knowledge-based) to enable them to achieve measurable impact in reducing food waste.

Specifically, the Initiative offers Leanpath’s expertise, as well as free or reduced-cost hardware and software, to a limited number of highly-qualified educational and non-profit applicants who share Leanpath’s vision of ensuring a sustainable future by eliminating global food waste, and who cannot advance their projects without assistance.

Leanpath 12.3 Initiative grants and partnerships are available for:

icon of three chefs

Culinary Classrooms

To ensure the next generation of foodservice leaders prioritize food waste prevention, the Leanpath 12.3 Initiative and the James Beard Foundation are offering free food waste prevention software to culinary educators.


Qualified Non-profits

The Leanpath 12.3 Initiative will evaluate a small number of hardware and software donation opportunities to mission-aligned non-profits annually.



Research Institutions

To ensure Leanpath’s food waste data set, photography and expertise is leveraged for greater understanding of the food waste crisis, the Initiative will coordinate sharing information with qualified research organizations.

James Beard Foundation
– Leanpath 12.3 Initiative Partner

Leanpath is the James Beard Foundation’s official food waste tracking partner and is providing tracking technology and analytics for their “Creating a Full-Use Kitchen” curriculum for culinary professionals.

Leanpath’s James Beard Program provides resources and tools to instructors, including access to Leanpath’s food waste prevention software and support. The chef-instructors educate themselves and their students on the critical role automated measurement plays in understanding and preventing food waste.

The Leanpath 12.3 Initiative formalizes Leanpath’s history of partnering to further food waste prevention with groups including:

412 Food Rescue
Basque Culinary Center
Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC)
DC Central Kitchen
Daily Table
Feeding America
Food Recovery Network
Future Food Institute
Global Footprint Network
International Food Waste Coalition
Massey University
Menus of Change University Research Collaborative (MCURC)
The National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine
Northern California Recycling Association (Zero Food Waste Forum)
National Foundation to End Senior Hunger
Partnering for Green Growth & the Global Goals 2030
Recycling Works Massachusetts
National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center
Suliver - Sustainability and Livelihood Research Organization
SUNY The State University of New York
Toxics User Reduction Institute (TURI)
UN Environment
University of Oregon
Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP)
World Resources Institute (WRI)

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

In late 2015, the United Nations launched 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focused on addressing key global challenges such as poverty, inequality, and climate change. Our food system is critically linked to these three themes and all 17 goals, and sharp reductions in food waste would benefit all of them.

The SDGs include a broad range of goals for sweeping positive change by 2030, including Target 12.3, which seeks to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns by cutting food waste at the retail and consumer levels in half while reducing food losses along production and supply chains.

The Leanpath 12.3 Initiative takes its name from this UN Target.

The focus of the Leanpath Initiative is to help catalyze the global effort to achieve Target 12.3 by expanding the reach of food waste prevention technology and research.

In addition to our work generating ROI (Return on Investment) through waste prevention with large culinary organizations in multiple sectors, we also recognize that there are numerous researchers and small organizations who are committed to advancing the cause of food waste prevention but require some targeted assistance. The Leanpath 12.3 Initiative supports and accelerates the work of these individuals and organizations by sharing our expertise or data, or providing access to free or discounted software on a limited basis.

The Leanpath 12.3 Initiative is not a non-profit, but is a distinct arm of our organization focused on giving back to the global community by accelerating food waste prevention efforts among qualified needs-based, mission-aligned organizations.

Culinary educators, mission-aligned non-profits and mission-aligned research institutes. There are a limited number of grants per year.

Already have an idea in mind? We’d love to hear the details. Complete the Application form and apply today!

For general questions about the Initiative, and how you might partner with us in working to cut global food waste and loss in half by 2030 in accordance with Target 12.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals, please contact us at

Apply online anytime. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the year.

Applications are reviewed by the Leanpath 12.3 Initiative executive team, which has sole approval authority. The number of annual awards is limited, so while we support a wide range of projects, unfortunately, we can’t approve all applications that we receive. Upon review of your application, we’ll get back to you promptly.

Steven Finn, Vice President of Food Waste Prevention, Executive Director, Leanpath 12.3 Initiative
Steven Finn
Executive Director, Leanpath 12.3 Initiative

Leanpath 12.3 Initiative - Contact Us

The Leanpath 12.3 Initiative is led by Executive Director Steven Finn. Steven is a member of the Leanpath leadership team and teaches Innovation for Sustainability with a focus on food, water, and energy nexus issues at the University of Pennsylvania. Steve has extensive expertise in food waste reduction and prevention strategies, and speaks frequently at global industry events and provides strategic insight for Leanpath clients. He has conducted extensive research into the problems of food security and global food waste, developing innovative public-private partnerships to capture and redistribute excess food. He has served on several nonprofit boards focused on food security, and is the author of the blog Food for Thoughtful Action.

Help us advance the Leanpath 12.3 Initiative’s mission of accelerating food waste prevention around the globe.

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