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Sustainable cold chains for food reduce waste and battle climate change

Sustainable cold chains for food reduce waste

  • news by AUN News correspondent
  • Monday, November 14, 2022
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • Given that an estimated 14% of all food produced for human consumption is lost before it even reaches customers, these systems are essential to ensuring food quality, nutritional content, and safety.

  • The world must raise investment to fulfil the challenge of feeding an extra two billion people by the middle of the century.

  • An increase in Hungerford waste is occurring as the number of hungry people increased to 828 million in 2021—46 million more than the year before.

  • A nutritious diet was out of reach for approximately 3.1 billion people in 2020, an increase of 112 million from the previous year due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on inflation.

  • According to the paper, reducing food loss and waste could help combat climate change, but only if new infrastructure is planned to employ gases with minimal potential for global warming.

Given that an estimated 14% of all food produced for human consumption is lost before it even reaches customers, these systems are essential to ensuring food quality, nutritional content, and safety.

The world must raise investment to fulfil the challenge of feeding an extra two billion people by the middle of the century.

Several catastrophes, the enormous disparity

At the COP27 climate change conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released a report.

“Sustainable food cold chains can make a huge difference when the world community must act to address the climate and food crises,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP.

They enable us to decrease food loss, enhance food security, moderate greenhouse gas emissions, generate jobs, lessen poverty, and foster resilience.

An increase in hunger

Food waste is occurring as the number of hungry people increased to 828 million in 2021—46 million more than the year before.

A nutritious diet was out of reach for approximately 3.1 billion people in 2020, an increase of 112 million from the previous year due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on inflation. Ukraine conflict has put the world’s food security in danger this year.

According to the analysis, if developing countries had the same degree of food cold chain infrastructure as wealthier countries, they could save an astounding 144 million tonnes of food annually.

Better conditions for all

Dongyu Qu, director-general of FAO, believes that sustainable food cold chains may significantly impact efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To reform agrifood systems to be more effective, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable – for more excellent production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life for all, leaving no one behind, he added, all stakeholders can help put the report’s recommendations into practice.

Consequences of climate change

According to the paper, the cold food chain has significant effects on the environment and climate change.

Around one gigatonne of carbon dioxide equivalent, or about 2% of total world greenhouse gas emissions, was generated in 2017 due to food loss and waste due to inadequate refrigeration.

Food loss also increases the needless land conversion for agriculture and the consumption of energy, water, and fossil fuels.

According to the paper, reducing food loss and waste could help combat climate change, but only if new infrastructure is planned to employ gases with minimal potential for global warming.

Findings and suggestions

In nations like India, where a pilot initiative decreased kiwi fruit losses by 76% while lowering emissions by increasing the use of refrigerated transport, sustainable food cold chains are already having an impact.

The report includes suggestions, such as benchmarking current food cold chains’ energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, finding potential for reductions, and setting metrics.

To stop the unlawful importation of ineffective food cold chain equipment and refrigerants, authorities might also develop and enforce strict minimum efficiency criteria.

Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network

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