A Scan of Critical World Developments
In a world where too many go hungry and resources grow scarce, fully one-third of food production ends up as waste. Food waste is generated at every point in the production chain: farming, transportation, storage, and consumption. The monetary cost is huge—over $400 billion per year—and so are all of the other costs involved: the extra land needed for agriculture, the water and resources squandered, and the methane (a potent greenhouse gas) emitted from landfills. Methane from food waste, for instance, accounts for 7% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, or 3.3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent. In the future, as populations become larger and more affluent, the problem of food waste will become more severe—that is, unless corrective action is taken. A new report finds that, if governments embrace effective strategies to reduce food waste, emissions could be reduced by 0.2 to 1 billion tons CO2 equivalent per year by 2030. Better refrigeration equipment, for example, could reduce food waste in the developing world by 25%. Countries around the world should not let such an opportunity go to waste.