New study finds $1 trillion worth of food waste generated per year globally

The study is a global estimate on food waste at retail and consumer levels and helps to provide "guidance for countries on improving data collection and suggests best practices in moving from measuring to reducing food waste."

200
SOURCENationofChange

While 783 million people lived with hunger in 2022, the UN’s latest Food Waste Index Report finds more than $1 trillion worth of food waste is generated per year globally. The study, which revealed that food waste is “skyrocketing” worldwide, was co-authored with the charity WRAP.

The study is a global estimate on food waste at retail and consumer levels and helps to provide “guidance for countries on improving data collection and suggests best practices in moving from measuring to reducing food waste,” according to a press release.

“Food waste is a global tragedy,” Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP, said. “Millions will go hungry today as food is wasted across the world. Not only is this a major development issue, but the impacts of such unnecessary waste are causing substantial costs to the climate and nature.”

The study found in 2022 there were 1.05 billion tonnes of food waste generated, which amounted to almost one-fifth of all food available to consumers. Of this food waste, 60 percent was generated at the household level, 28 percent at the food services level and 12 percent at the retail level, according to a press release.

“With the huge cost to the environment, society, and global economies caused by food waste, we need greater coordinated action across continents and supply chains,” Harriet Lamb, CEO of WRAP. “We support UNEP in calling for more G20 countries to measure food waste and work towards Sustainable Development Goal 12.3,” said.

Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 (SDG12.3) is an initiative to “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” by 2030. Currently there are four G20 countries—Australia, Japan, UK, the USA— and the European Union that have food waste estimates suitable for tracking progress to 2030.

“This is critical to ensuring food feeds people, not landfills. Public-Private Partnerships are one key tool delivering results today, but they require support: whether philanthropic, business, or governmental, actors must rally behind programs addressing the enormous impact wasting food has on food security, our climate, and our wallets,” Lamb said.

While the total of both food loss and waste on the global economy is roughly $1 trillion, “only 21 countries have included food loss and/or waste reduction in their national climate plans (NDCs),” according to a press release. Food loss and waste makes up 8 to 10 percent of the annual global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide. Therefore, the study concluded that “robust baselines and regular measurement are needed for countries to show changes over time.”

“The Food Waste Index Report underscores the urgency of addressing food waste at both individual and systemic levels.”

FALL FUNDRAISER

If you liked this article, please donate $5 to keep NationofChange online through November.

COMMENTS