The waste of some 1.3 billion tons of food each year is causing economic losses of $750 billion and significant damage to the environment, according to a United Nations report launched today.
The report, Food Wastage Footprint: Impacts on Natural Resources, is the first study to analyze the impacts of global food wastage from an environmental perspective, looking specifically at its consequences for the climate, water and land use, and biodiversity.
One of the key findings of the report is that food that is produced but not eaten each year guzzles up a volume of water equivalent to the annual flow of Russia’s Volga River and is responsible for adding 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases to the planet’s atmosphere. Similarly, 1.4 billion hectares of land – 28 per cent of the world’s agricultural area – is used annually to produce food that is lost or wasted.
Beyond the environmental impacts, food wastage costs some $750 billion annually to food producers.
“All of us – farmers and fishers; food processors and supermarkets; local and national governments; individual consumers – must make changes at every link of the human food chain to prevent food wastage from happening in the first place, and re-use or recycle it when we can’t,” said the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) José Graziano da Silva…