2019 Challenge for Goal 12

Supported by Mondi Group

Lead2030 Challenge for SDG 12 – Supported by Mondi Group
Turning waste by the packaging industry into raw materials of inherent value

The world has a consumption problem, which in turn creates a waste problem. In the previous century, the world population grew substantially. At the same time, the world was changed by urbanisation, industrialisation and increased levels of affluence(1). Humans generate about 1.3 billion tonnes of waste per year, and this can lead to environmental tragedies like ocean plastic pollution and geopolitical tensions as Western countries seek new places to dispose of their waste(2). At the same time, 815 million people today live in a constant state of undernourishment and food insecurity, tragically contrasted with food waste amounting to 1.3 billion tonnes annually. One third of all food produced – enough to feed two billion people - is lost or wasted every year due to spoilage, damage or waste(3).  Globally, US$205 billion was spent in 2010 on waste related challenges, and this figure could rise to an estimated US$375 billion per year by 2025.(4)

This is turning food waste into one of the major contributors of world hunger(5) and represents loss of around $1 trillion annually(6). While developed countries lose almost half of their food (40%) at the consumer level, developing countries’ losses mainly occur at the early stages of the distribution(7).  The highly sophisticated, complex and time consuming food supply chain causes large spoilage rates(8).  Post-harvest food losses in developing countries are estimated to be around 25%, meaning that one quarter of all produced food never reaches the end customer. These high losses are mainly due to lack of proper storage, improper handling and insufficient packaging.

Waste from plastic-based packaging material is an increasing problem with negative impact on our environment, society, human health and the global economy. Responsible consumption and production are key elements in finding a solution to these challenges, but hygiene standards, complex supply chains and industry practices mean we need to prioritise initiatives for a sustainable solutions.

As one of the biggest packaging companies globally, Mondi generates about 1.1 million tons of production waste annually. Mondi has set challenging commitments to reduce its waste, particularly waste sent to landfill (e.g. ash and residues from the recycled pulp process). Nevertheless, about 200,000 tons of waste is still sent to landfill annually. In line with the principles of a circular economy, Mondi is looking to identify opportunities to reduce its own waste, but also reduce waste along its production and supply chains including food waste.

Mondi provides the food industry with packaging solutions for bakery products and ingredients, cheese and dairy products, crisps, snacks and nuts, confectionery, coffee, dehydrated and dried food, fresh and chilled food, fresh fruit and vegetables, frozen food and ice cream. As a producer of food packaging Mondi is committed to playing its part in contributing to solutions that eliminate food waste.

Mondi is proud to support the Lead 2030 Challenge for SDG 12. The Challenge seeks solutions that address necessary changes (social, technological, economic, political, infrastructural, consumer behavior and others) required to avoid unnecessary waste production.

This requires not only an adaptation of processes, raw material selection/preparation and waste prevention, but also the cooperation on all levels involved, including government, industry, retail, and end consumer. The challenge is working towards a zero waste future, with new packaging and logistical solutions to address waste in the supply chain and/or elimination or reuse of waste streams to create circular solutions.   

  • Find alternative solutions for waste streams from the packaging industry or after-use of packaging material to avoid landfilling or ocean leakage.
  • Demonstrate how current retail, collection, sorting and recycling infrastructure can be adapted to generate raw materials of inherent value.
  • Demonstrate how consumers can be incentivised to reduce the consumption of single use packaging items.
  • Demonstrate how cross-industry collaboration can make reuse/recycling mechanisms efficient and scalable.
  • Demonstrate solutions to address post-harvest losses, from improper handling and transportation to lack of proper storage and packaging solutions.
  • How can the shelf life be extended while simultaneously minimizing the environmental impacts of the packaging itself? 

Application deadline: 5 January 2020

[1] http://www.nature.com/news/environment-wasteproduction-must-peak-this-century-1.14032

[2] https://www.wri.org/blog/2018/05/barriers-circular-economy-5-reasons-world-wastes-so-much-stuff-and-why-its-not-just

[3] World Benchmarking Alliance

[4] https://www.longfinance.net/media/documents/baml_waste_2013.pdf

[5] Journal of Natural Sciences Research: https://www.iiste.org/Journals/index.php/JNSR/article/view/21502

[6] http://www.fao.org/policy-support/policy-themes/food-loss-food-waste/en/#targetText=Food%20Loss%20and%20Food%20Waste,900%20billion%20in%20social%20costs.

[7] https://www.unenvironment.org/thinkeatsave/get-informed/worldwide-food-waste

[8] Journal of Natural Sciences Research: https://www.iiste.org/Journals/index.php/JNSR/article/view/21502


  1. Aligned: Evidently aligned with the SDG12 challenge. See ‘Challenge outline’.

  2. Youth-led: Founded by a person aged 18 – 30.

  3. Focused: Well-structured time horizon, identified key stakeholders and beneficiaries, and proposed outcomes that are reasonable and well thought out.

  4. Proven: Readily available, in or past implementation phase.

  5. Impactful: Solutions must have a positive social impact, for example generating employment, or developing skills.

  6. Measurable: Impacts of solutions must have been adequately measured and/or be measurable.

  7. Financially viable: Must be able to achieve efficiency and to survive independently through the resources they generate and/or the investments and donations they attract.

  8. Scalable: Potential to perform as well or better after expanding in scope or size and/or being transported to other regions.


The winning solution will receive

  • A US$50,000 grant from Mondi Group

  • 12 months of mentorship from a team of Mondi Group professionals. The mentorship team will work to accelerate your solution based on the needs of your initiative or organization, such as:

    • Business strategy

    • Best practices for data collection

    • Monitoring and evaluation

    • Product design