Report urges countries to set reduction targets to minimise food waste

Wednesday 05 October 2016

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, approximately one-third of all food produced in the world is either lost or wasted

Food loss and waste is responsible for US $ 940 billion in economic losses and 8 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions annually
Credit: Ewan Munro/Flickr

A new report has assessed the global progress made towards meeting Target 12.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that calls on countries to halve food waste and reduce food loss by 2030.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, approximately one-third of all food produced in the world is either lost or wasted.

The report says that countries, cities and businesses in the food supply chain should move quickly to set reduction targets, measure progress and take action to reduce food loss and waste.

The report points out that the impact of food loss and waste worldwide is tremendous. Food loss and waste is responsible for US $ 940 billion in economic losses and 8 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

In some areas, food losses near the farm are predominant and can affect the ability of farmers to make a good living and feed their families. In Europe and North America, food wasted near the fork can affect the less fortunate.

Source: WRI analysis based on FAO. 2011. Global Food Losses and Food Waste—Extent, Causes, and Prevention. Rome: UN FAO.

Source: WRI analysis based on FAO. 2011. Global Food Losses and Food Waste—Extent, Causes, and Prevention. Rome: UN FAO

According to the report, governments and organisations across Europe, Africa and the United States have taken a number of steps in the past year, but much more needs to be done. The report offers three recommendations to meet Target 12.3 by 2030:

  • Every country, major city and company involved in the food supply chain should set food loss and waste reduction targets consistent with Target 12.3 to ensure sufficient attention and focus
  • The report recommends governments and companies to quantify and report on food loss and waste and monitor progress over time through 2030.
  • Governments and companies should accelerate and scale up adoption of policies, incentives, investment and practices that reduce food loss and waste

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