Global initiative aimed to change culture of food waste
Saying that simple actions by consumers and food retailers can dramatically cut the 1.3 billion tonnes of food lost or wasted each year, and can help shape a sustainable future, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and partners have launched a new global campaign to cut food waste.
Called Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint campaign, it is in support of the Save Food initiative to reduce food loss and waste along the entire chain of food production and consumption – run by the FAO and trade fair organiser Messe Düsseldorf – and the UN Secretary General’s Zero Hunger Challenge, the announcement revealed and added that the campaign specifically targets food wasted by consumers, retailers and the hospitality industry.
According to UNEP, the campaign harnesses the expertise of organisations such as WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), Feeding the 5,000 and other partners, including national governments who have considerable experience targeting and changing wasteful practices.
The objective of the campaign is to accelerate action and provide a global vision and information-sharing portal (www.thinkeatsave.org) for the many and diverse initiatives currently under way around the world, the announcement explained.
According to data released by FAO, worldwide, about one-third of all food produced, worth around USD 1 trillion, gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems.
Food loss occurs mostly at the production stages – harvesting, processing and distribution – while food waste typically takes place at the retailer and consumer end of the food-supply chain.
Against the backdrop of the campaign, Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director said: “In a world of seven billion people, set to grow to nine billion by 2050, wasting food makes no sense – economically, environmentally and ethically. Aside from the cost implications, all the land, water, fertilisers and labour needed to grow that food is wasted, not to mention the generation of greenhouse gas emissions produced by food decomposing on landfill and the transport of food that is ultimately thrown away. To bring about the vision of a truly sustainable world, we need a transformation in the way we produce and consume our natural resources.”
José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General, added: “In industrialised regions, almost half of the total food squandered, around 300 million tonnes annually, occurs because producers, retailers and consumers discard food that is still fit for consumption. This is more than the total net food production of Sub-Saharan Africa, and would be sufficient to feed the estimated 870 million people hungry in the world. If we can help food producers to reduce losses through better harvesting, processing, storage, transport and marketing methods, and combine this with profound and lasting changes in the way people consume food, then we can have a healthier and hunger-free world.”