Technical Platform on the Measurement and Reduction of Food Loss and Waste

Food loss and waste are among the main causes of climate change

Every year, around 14 percent of the world’s food is lost after harvest and in the distribution chain prior to retail, and an additional 17 percent of food available to consumers is wasted. Food loss and waste account for 8 to 10 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon dioxide is generated at every step of the food supply system, from production to handling, transportation, storage and distribution, regardless of whether the food produced is consumed or not, leaving a significant carbon footprint. In particular, the rotting of food waste in landfills and open dumps is adding considerably to greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases contribute to an unstable climate prone to drastic environmental change and extreme weather events. These unstable climate conditions negatively impact crop yields, reduce the nutritional quality of crops, disrupt supply chains and threaten food security. Reducing food loss and waste plays a key role in transforming agrifood systems. It can improve productivity and ensure natural resources are used more efficiently, contributing to economic growth and benefiting society as a whole.