17 percent of food produced annually is wasted: UN report
Nearly 1 billion tons of food is wasted every year, a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme found.
In a report published Thursday, researchers found that 931 million tons of food are wasted annually, including roughly 570 million tons produced by households. That figure accounts for 17 percent of the food produced for human consumption each year.
Researchers also noted that these numbers are likely low due to some nations not recording their annual food waste numbers.
The scale of the issue remains enormous, according to the U.N. report, which noted that the body has set goals of halving the total amount of annual wasted food by 2030.
If all greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the production of the wasted food was added up, it would constitute roughly 10 percent of the world’s annual emissions, behind only the countries of China and the U.S.
“If food loss and waste were a country, it would be the third biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Food waste also burdens waste management systems, exacerbates food insecurity, making it a major contributor to the three planetary crises of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste,” said Inger Andersen, the Environmental Programme’s executive director.
The U.N. plans to expand food waste management programs across the globe, including countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, according to the report.
“There is growing evidence of success in reducing food waste – though not at the scale needed to achieve the target. Much more can be done. We need, for example, to address the role of consumer behaviour, in all cultural contexts, in achieving the target. Let us all shop carefully, cook creatively and make wasting food anywhere socially unacceptable while we strive to provide healthy, sustainable diets to all,” Andersen said.