If we don't address food waste, who will?
World Food Day Millions go hungry while mountains of food are wasted every single day. This World Food Day, we need to unite if we are to address this absurd paradox once and for all.
"I was born in circumstances where food waste would have been inconceivable concept.
"I saw the daylight in 1951 in Kyusyur in Siberia where my family was deported in 1941 from Soviet occupied Lithuania. My childhood memories of impoverished and rough environment I was living in as a young boy have stayed with me for all my life and hence I can only perceive the food waste as an absurdity.
"When it comes to food waste, it is a case of:
if not us, then who?
If not now, then when?"
"But the reality is, that today we live in times the world wastes roughly one-third of food produced for human consumption.
This costs the global economy almost £700 billion every year. It takes up more land than the whole of China and it accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile millions of people are forced to abandon their homes to escape hunger, poverty or even more immediate life-threatening situations.
How did we get here?
"Today's World Food Day is not only time to celebrate the value and diversity of food but it is also a moment to reflect on the unethical, immoral and all-too costly practice of 'food waste' resulting in the avoidable and heavy burden on our planet.
It is time for the world to take responsibility for a change that can only happen on a global scale. Food losses and food waste occur at every stage of the food supply chain, from farm to fork.
And every country, every organisation, every person has a role to play to cut down on waste and to do their bit in the fight against hunger and poverty.
What can we do?
"This will require a complete step-change in the way we produce, market, distribute and consume food. We must design new sustainable food systems that cut out waste at every step. It is not just a matter of necessity in fight against poverty, climate change and unequal access to food. If only we seize the opportunity it will also be a significant boost to our economy, with the creation of new jobs and services along the way.
The government's pledge
"As European Commissioner in charge of Health and Food safety, and as member of the global Champions 12.3 coalition*, I am fully committed to supporting the United Nations' target of halving food waste by 2030. This can only happen if all players are willing to take concrete action, step up their co-operation and join-up efforts all along the food chain. A new EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste is part of our pledge to bring all sides – public and private - together and help us reach our Sustainable Development Goals as quickly as possible.
"As you read this over breakfast, lunch or dinner, I encourage you to think about your meal, and think about it mindfully."
"When it comes to the fight against food waste it is a case of: if not us, then who? If not now, then when? We cannot afford to take our time when millions of people around the world still do not know where their next meal is coming from. As you read these articles over breakfast, lunch or dinner, I encourage you to think about your meal and think mindfully. We must all act now to change the way we eat, work and live. The stakes couldn't be higher."
*Champions 12.3 is a coalition of nearly 40 leaders across government, business and civil society dedicated to inspiring ambition, mobilizing action, and accelerating progress towards achieving Target 12.3 of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
SDG 12.3 target: "By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses."