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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

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Why reducing food loss and waste matters for the climate - Food Loss and Waste Day

As we mark the Fourth International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste (IDAFLW) on September 29, let's take this opportunity to reflect on the critical need to address one of the world's most pressing challenges: food loss and waste to fight world hunger, but also climate change.
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But why does food loss and waste matter?
In a world facing multiple threats, climate change, conflicts, economic uncertainty, and soaring food prices, the importance of addressing food loss and waste cannot be overstated. The recent State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report highlighted that a staggering 783 million people faced hunger in 2022, while over 3.1 billion people couldn't afford a healthy diet in 2021.
However, the paradox is while millions go hungry, the planet witnesses massive food loss and waste. Approximately 13% of the world's food vanishes within the supply chain, from post-harvest to the retail stage. Even more alarming, a further 17% is wasted in households, food services, and retail.
For some illustration, see some images from a dumpster diving Facebook group in Sweden ๐Ÿ‘‡ And think about that this is only some people in Sweden and the same thing happens all over the world.
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It's no secret that our current agrifood systems are unsustainable. They contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation, degrade agricultural land, and threaten biodiversity and groundwater resources. Imagine using all these resources, polluting, killing biodiversity, displacing people and just throwing away the final product. That's what's happening all around the world and it's insanity.
The impact of food loss and waste extends far beyond our dinner plates. Some staggering facts shared by the FAO:
๐Ÿญ Agrifood systems account for one-third of total greenhouse gas emissions.
โš ๏ธ During the period 2010-2016, global FLW accounted for 8 to 10% of total anthropogenic GHG emissions
๐ŸŒ Fruits and vegetables account for approximately 32% of food losses
๐Ÿฅ“ Meat and animal products account for 12.4% of food losses
๐Ÿšฎ On average, each of us produces 74 kg of food waste each year
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If we want to transform our agrifood systems into more resilient ones, then reducing food loss and waste emerges as a pivotal strategy. By curbing food loss and waste, we can increase food availability, ensure food security, promote healthier diets, and enhance resilience. Crucially, this reduction also serves as a key climate strategy by mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and the consumption of key resources such as water.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically SDG 12, Target 12.3, calls for halving global food waste by 2030. This aligns with Target 16 of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. To meet these targets, we need urgent and collective action.
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What can we do about it?
Reducing food loss and waste is a shared responsibility. Governments, the private sector, civil society, research institutions, and consumers all have roles to play. Collaboration is crucial, particularly between the public and private sectors and with research institutions.
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Governments can invest in agriculture and food data systems, integrate food loss and waste into climate policies, and commit to transforming national agrifood systems.
๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ”ฌ Research and academia can quantify the benefits of food loss and waste reduction, innovate in data collection, and assess the environmental impact of agrifood systems.
๐Ÿšœ Private actors in the food supply chain can invest in climate-friendly innovations, adopt green and social targets, and work on behaviour change programs to reduce food loss and waste.
๐Ÿ›’ Consumers, the ultimate beneficiaries, can raise awareness and change their behaviour to minimise food waste.
As we observe IDAFLW, let's remember that reducing food loss and waste is not just about preserving resources; it's about nourishing our planet and people, safeguarding our future, and ensuring that no one goes to bed hungry.
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Do you agree?

18 more agrees trigger social media ads

  • Chris Ndungu

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    This is an important measure taken, dealing with food waste minimization is a great effort!

    • walter lungayi

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      41 w

      Food loss and waste is a critical issue that demands immediate attention. It not only contributes to hunger and food insecurity but also has severe environmental consequences. Taking collective action to reduce food loss and waste is essential for a sustainable future.

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      • We Don't Have Time

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        41 w

        Dear Sarah Chabane Your climate love has received over 50 agrees! We have reached out to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations by email and requested a response. I will keep you updated on any progress! To reach more people and increase the chance of a response, click the Share button above to share the review on your social accounts. For every new member that joins We Don't Have Time from your network, we will plant a tree and attribute it to you! /Adam, We Don't Have Time

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        • johnte ndeto

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          41 w

          creating awareness too will have a positive impact on food conservation

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          • Grace Njeri

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            41 w

            By reducing food loss we can have less greenhouse gas emissions and less pressure on environment.

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            • Rukia Ahmed Abdi

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              Reducing food loss and waste is a crucial step in addressing both world hunger and climate change. With millions going hungry while a significant portion of the world's food is lost or wasted, it's clear that our current agrifood systems are unsustainable. This wastage contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, land degradation, biodiversity loss, and groundwater depletion

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              • Johannes Luiga

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                41 w

                A very important day!

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                • Princess

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                  41 w

                  Minimizing food waste is crucial for a greener, more sustainable planet.

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                  • Sarah Fromm

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                    41 w

                    Let's spread awareness about this day!

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                    Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
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