Almost a billion tonnes, or seven times around the Earth by 40 t trucks placed end to end: this is the food wasted each year in the world, nearly 20% of the food available to the inhabitants of the globe, according to a report released Thursday by the UN.
“The problem is huge.
It is costly from an environmental, social and economic point of view ”, declared Richard Swannel, director of development of the British NGO Wrap, co-author of the“ report on the food waste index ”, published by the United Nations Program. for the environment (UNEP).
According to its authors, "the report presents the most comprehensive collection, analysis and modeling of food waste data to date."
Data (for the year 2019) was collected from 54 countries, developed and low-income, regarding retail, restaurants and homes.
Result of the compilations, then modeled on a global scale: 931 million tonnes of food thrown away per year (the report takes into account the edible parts and not - bones, shells).
Approximately 931 million tonnes of food waste was generated in 2019 🍇🥬🌽
61% of this is generated at household level, 26% from food service & 13% at retail level 🍜🥧
Read the latest global data in our new #FoodWasteIndex Report with @ WRAP_UK.
- UN Environment Program (@UNEP) March 4, 2021
Contrary to popular belief, these data show that the phenomenon affects all countries, regardless of their income levels, even though, according to the UN, nearly 700 million people around the world suffer from hunger and that three billion do not have access to healthy food, for a world population estimated at 7.8 billion.
“Until now, food waste has been viewed as a problem for rich countries,” said UNEP's co-author Clementine O'Connor.
“But our report shows that in every country that has measured it, domestic waste is a problem.
"Third emitter in the world of greenhouse gases"
For 121 kg of food wasted each year per Earth person, 74 kg, or well over half, is lost at the household level.
As a percentage of the total available to consumers, 11% is thrown away at the household level, 5% from restaurants and 2% from retail outlets.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), for its part, compiles a report on food “losses”, measured at the level of agricultural production and distribution.
According to these figures, around 14% of the food produced in the world is lost before it even reaches the market, amounting to some 400 billion dollars per year, roughly the GDP of Austria.
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“If food waste and loss were a country, it would be the world's third largest emitter of greenhouse gases,” notes Richard Swannel.
“You have to fix the food system if you want to tackle climate change, and one of the priorities is to deal with waste.
The authors of Thursday's study emphasize that it is important not to end up in landfill, where they are not valued and where their decomposition process emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
One of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provides for a halving of food waste at consumer and retail level by 2030. The United Nations must also organize the very first in the fall. “Food systems summit”, aiming at more “healthy, sustainable and equitable” production and consumption patterns.