On the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction, the international aid agency World Vision has called for a global commitment to stop food waste and warns that increasing global hunger and climate change are inextricably linked to food waste.
“We are witnessing a vicious cycle that must be broken,” said Mary Njeri, World Vision’s Global Hunger Response Director. “Greenhouse gases are generated at every step of the food supply system, regardless of whether the food produced is consumed, and the food waste rotting in landfills generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Meanwhile, the world’s most vulnerable families are the ones feeling the greatest impacts having to live through climate-driven weather events, then suffer the consequences of food waste. On this, International Day of Food Loss and Waste, the international community must do more to reduce the unnecessary waste of food, when so many around the world face starvation.”
According to the UN food waste from households, retail establishments, and the food service industry totals 931 million tonnes each year. Nearly 570 million tonnes of this waste occurs at the household level. The global average of food wasted each year is 74 kg per capita.
“Millions of children around the world are suffering from an unstable climate resulting in extreme weather events such as droughts and flooding. This threatens their homes and their safety, but it also damages crops and severely impacts their access to food. At the same time, the impacts of climate change are being exacerbated by food loss and food wasting.”
World Vision is joining the UN and other partners to call on all global citizens to reduce food waste and loss. This includes governments and producers investing more in making food supply chains more efficient. It means governments help consumers to minimize their food waste. It means consumers doing everything they can to use all the food they buy.
“If food loss and waste were a country, it would be the third biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions globally,” said Njeri. “In turn, the climate crisis is a major reason why more than 800 million people are going hungry. It is morally reprehensible that at a time when children are at risk of dying from starvation, millions of tons of food are going to waste on a daily basis. This is a crisis situation that does have a solution, but action is needed now.”