Global food waste

 

If food loss and waste were its own country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, according to data produced by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

"Around a third of all food produced for humans is wasted."

Not only does lost or wasted food negatively impact our climate, it’s also draining $940 billion from the economy, leaving millions to go hungry and placing huge pressure on limited natural resources.

Currently, around a third of all the food produced for human consumption goes uneaten. As Dr. Liz Goodwin, Senior Fellow and Director, Food Loss and Waste at the World Resources Institute, explains, “it’s going to be a combination of things that get us to 50 per cent less waste.”

 

Photo credit: World Resource Institute/Jan Slangen

Combined efforts

 

Since the start of the Sustainable Development Goals, which include the call to halve food loss and waste, the world has made progress. Today, 28 percent of the global population live in a country or region with a target to reduce food loss and waste, and 60 percent of the largest food companies have also set reduction targets. Is it enough though? 

"If food waste were its own country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter."

“Reducing food loss and waste is an enormous opportunity. But the action does not yet meet the scale of the challenge. Many more must set reduction targets, measure their food loss and waste, and enact innovative policies and programs,” says Dr Goodwin.

“To be successful, we need the overall approach of ‘target, measure, act’ to be adopted by countries and companies, including the whole supply chain from the point food is ready to harvest through to the end consumer. Everyone has a role to play.”