Reducing food loss and waste through sustainable cold chains – new video


Lack of effective refrigeration directly results in the loss of 526 million tons of food production, or 12 per cent of the global total. 

In a world where the number of hungry people is rising, yet tonnes of edible food is lost, one solution is better storage – ensuring products are kept at a suitable and uninterrupted temperature along the food chain. But with little or no electricity in many developing countries, particularly in rural areas where most of the food is produced, a seemingly simple solution becomes a complex problem.  

A new animated video describes the importance of temperature-controlled storage and transport along the agrifood value chainIt highlights some global solutions such as the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, its Kigali Amendment which is a global agreement to phase down potent climate pollutants known as hydrofluorocarbons and the Rome Declaration on food cold chains.  

Cold chain is a term applied to food handling and distribution where a product is kept in suitable temperature conditions all the way from harvesting, through the cooling or freezing process to the point of sale, thus ensuring the product stays fresher and more nutritious for longer. 

Lack of access to refrigeration along the food chain creates a vicious circle of lost income and reduced market accesssystemically affecting farmers and consumersHowever, access to reliable and affordable energy is a pre-requisite to establishing cold chains. Cold chain equipment itself demands significant quantities of electricity, still predominantly produced from fossil fuels. In addition, refrigeration usecooling substances that are ozone-depleting and warming the climate. Unsustainable cooling solutions therefore endanger our health, food and livelihoods, contributing to climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion.  

We need to find solutions that can expand cold chain infrastructure in a sustainable way. This includes using renewable energy to power cooling where viable
FAO, UNEP and the Italian Ministry of Environment and Energy Security are working with countries to introduce renewable energy, find solutions to sustainably expand cold chain infrastructure, and, where viable, using renewable energy to power cooling. The parties to the Montreal Protocol have been working on eliminating and reducing the reliance on ozone-depleting substances and greenhouse gases in the refrigeration sectorwhile also improving energy efficiency of these technologies.  

The video complements the Report Sustainable food cold chains: Opportunities, challenges and the way forward that was developed by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in the framework of the UNEP-led Cool Coalition in partnership with the Ozone Secretariat, UNEP OzonAction Programme, and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, and the Italian Ministry of Environment and Energy Security. 

The animated video is available with subtitlesin all FAO languages at the links below: 

Reducing food loss and waste through sustainable food cold chains 

Réduire les pertes et le gaspillage alimentaires grâce à des chaînes du froid alimentaires durables 

Reducir las pérdidas y el desperdicio de alimentos mediante cadenas de frío alimentarias sostenibles 



Сокращение потерь и порчи продовольствия благодаря устойчивым продовольственным холодильным цепочкам