The Leanpath 12.3 Initiative



Together, we can achieve Target 12.3

The Leanpath 12.3 Initiative exists to help educational and non-profit organizations around the globe accelerate and deepen their efforts toward food waste prevention. The Initiative offers Leanpath’s expertise, as well as free or reduced-cost hardware and software, to qualified educational and non-profit applicants.

Food waste is one of the world’s most pressing problems. Every year, up to half of the global food supply is lost or wasted to the great detriment of people and planet. To ensure a sustainable future, feeding 10 billion citizens while minimizing environmental harm, we must initiate change in actions and behavior at all levels of the food system to reduce food waste.  And by far the most impactful way to reduce food waste is to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

Leanpath has worked with foodservice clients since 2004 to cut their food waste in half or more. Since 2014 alone, together, we have prevented tens of millions of pounds of food from being wasted through our innovative measurement-focused solutions. But, there is much more work to be done if the world is going to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainability Goal 12.3 to cut global food waste in half by 2030.

And so, we’re doing more.

Leanpath 12.3 Initiative grants and partnerships are available for:w

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 Nonprofits

To ensure resource-constrained organizations have access to food waste prevention technology, the Leanpath 12.3 Initiative is making hardware and software donations to mission-aligned nonprofits.


Research Institutions

To ensure Leanpath’s food waste data set, photography and expertise is leveraged for greater understanding of the food waste crisis, the Leanpath 12.3 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.

Leanpath 12.3 Initiative recipients include:

Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC)
Daily Table
Feeding America
Food Recovery Network
Future Food Institute
International Food Waste Coalition
Menus of Change University Research Collaborative (MCURC)
Northern California Recycling Association (Zero Food Waste Forum)
National Foundation to End Senior Hunger
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
World Resources Institute (WRI)
Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP)

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.

The Leanpath 12.3 Initiative supports and accelerates the work of individuals and organizations who are committed to advancing the cause of food waste prevention. The Initiative does this in three ways: by providing free or reduced-cost software to culinary educators, supplying free or discounted technology to nonprofits, and by sharing Leanpath’s 15-plus-year data set of food waste information and expertise with research institutes.

The Leanpath 12.3 initiative is supported by Leanpath, but is run as a separate entity.

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.

Steve Finn
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.