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Report: tackling food waste should be a priority



Cutting back food waste could save up to $300 billion (£194bn) each year by 2030 and make a “significant contribution” to climate change mitigation efforts, according to a new report.

The report – Strategies to achieve economic and environmental gains by reducing food waste – is from the UK government’s Waste & Resource Action Programme and the Global Commission on the Economy.

Globally around a third of all food produced ends up as waste, the value of this food is more than $400 billion (£259bn) each year. This number is expected to increase in coming decades, as the world’s middle class grows, resulting in waste valued at $600 billion (£389bn). The report calls on governments, businesses and consumers to work together to reduce consumer food waste.

Dr Richard Swannell, director of sustainable food system at WRAP, said, “Food waste is a global issue and tackling it is a priority. This report emphasise the benefits that can be obtained for businesses, consumers and the environment.”

Cutting consumer food waste by 20-50% could save between $120 and £300 billion (£77-£194bn). Furthermore, the report explains that 7% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, or 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2, are due to food waste, as a result reducing waste could make a “significant contribution” to tackling climate change.

The report estimates that by 2030 global greenhouse gas emissions could be lowered by at least 0.2 billion tonnes, and possibly by as much as 1 billion tonnes, each year through waste reduction measure alone.

Helen Mountford, global programme direct for the New Climate Economy, commented, “Reducing food waste is good for the economy and good for the climate. Less food waste means greater efficiency, more productivity, and direct savings for consumers. It also means more food available to feed the estimated 805 million that go to be hungry each day.

“Reducing food waste is also a great way to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. These findings should serve as a wakeup call to policymakers around the world.”

Photo: Jbloom via Flickr

Further reading:

Grocery sector launches campaign to tackle household food waste

Tackling food waste on World Food Day – infographic

Supermarkets commit to reporting food waste figures

Tesco unveils extent of grocery food waste

Tackle food waste to tackle inequality, government report says

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