These systems are critical to maintaining the quality, nutritional value and safety of food, especially as an estimated 14 per cent of all food produced for human consumption is lost before it even reaches consumers.

The increased investment is also required if the world is to meet the challenge of feeding an additional two billion people by mid-century.

Multiple crises, massive difference

The report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) was launched at the COP27 climate change conference underway in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

“At a time when the international community must act to address the climate and food crises, sustainable food cold chains can make a massive difference,” said Inger Andersen, the UNEP Executive Director.

“They allow us to reduce food loss, improve food security, slow greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs, reduce poverty and build resilience – all in one fell swoop.”

Hunger on the rise

Food waste is happening as the number of hungry people worldwide rose to 828 million in 2021, or 46 million more than in the previous year.

In 2020, nearly 3.1 billion people could not afford a healthy diet, up 112 million from 2019, as the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic drove up inflation.  This year, the war in Ukraine has threatened global food security.

The report argues that developing countries could save a staggering 144 million tonnes of food annually if they reached the same level of food cold chain infrastructure as richer nations.

Better life for all

Sustainable food cold chains can also make an important difference in efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to FAO Director-General Dongyu Qu.

“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,” he said.

Impacts on climate change

The food cold chain has serious implications for climate change and the environment, the report revealed.

Emissions from food loss and waste due to lack of refrigeration totalled around one gigatonne of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2017, or roughly two percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

Food loss also increases the unnecessary conversion of land for agricultural purposes, as well as use of water, fossil fuels and energy.

Reducing food loss and waste could make a positive impact on climate change, the report said, but only if new infrastructure is designed that uses gases with low global warming potential.

Results and recommendations

Sustainable food cold chains are already making a difference in countries such as India, where a pilot project reduced kiwi fruit losses of by 76 per cent while reducing emissions through expansion of the use of refrigerated transport.

The report contains recommendations that include quantifying the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in existing food cold chains, establishing benchmarks, and identifying opportunities for reductions.

Authorities also can implement and enforce ambitious minimum efficiency standards, as well as monitoring and enforcement, to prevent illegal imports of inefficient food cold chain equipment and refrigerants.

Global Issues

Source link

You May Also Like

Russia-Ukraine War: France Pledges More Military Support for Ukraine

The frigate named the Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union…

Elon Musk: Twitter closes offices until next week

It comes amid reports that large numbers of staff have resigned from…

In ‘market of hate’, a Congress leader’s march to ‘unite India’

Karnal, Haryana – India’s main opposition leader Rahul Gandhi’s countrywide Bharat Jodo…

Denys Monastyrskyi: Death of Ukraine’s interior minister in helicopter crash is a blow for President Zelenskyy

“Go to hell” was the message that Ukraine’s war-time interior minister had…

World Cup: Gareth Southgate leaves himself exposed as England’s dire display reopens old wounds

When the final whistle blew, boos boomed among the England fans at…

Family says Egyptian hunger-striking activist drinking water

CAIRO — Egypt’s imprisoned hunger-striking activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah has started drinking water…