UN: ‘Making food chains sustainable key to fighting climate change’

Food loss and waste makes up around 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions

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Ensuring that food cold chains are more sustainable will be critical to battling climate change.

That’s according to a joint report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), claiming that currently around 14% of the food produced for human consumption is lost before it even arrives on our plates.

Cold food has become far more crucial in recent years, as foods from across the world are shipped to various countries and supermarkets – and are refrigerated or frozen to last.

The UNEP has stated that food loss and waste makes up around 10% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – and is calling for far more investment in the cold chains.

It claims that if the correct investment is made, an extra two billion people could be fed by 2050.

“[Sustainable food cold chains] allow us to reduce food loss, improve food security, slow GHG emissions, create jobs, reduce poverty and build resilience – all in one fell swoop,” said Inger Andersen, the UNEP Executive Director.

The report reveals that in 2021, there were 46 million more people going hungry than in 2020 – with the number totalling more than 828 million.

If developing nations reached the same level of food cold chain infrastructure as wealthier countries, they could save 144 million tonnes of food each year, the study found.

In 2017, the amount of food lost due to lack refrigeration lead to carbon emissions of one gigatonne – equating to 2% of the world’s emissions.

Dongyu Qu, FAO Director-General, added: “All stakeholders can help implement the findings of this report, to transform agrifood systems to be more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable – for better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all, leaving no one behind.”