World in brief: Food waste

A billion tonnes of nourishment that was never eaten

The World Today Published 2 April 2021 Updated 12 April 2022 2 minute READ

Nairomi Eriksson

Former Coordinator, Communications and Publishing

‘If food loss and waste were a country, it would be the third biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions’. This is the stark opening line in a recent United Nations report on global food waste. Only the United States and China would have higher emissions, says the Food Waste Index, which estimates that nearly a billion tonnes of food was wasted in 2019. 

Hoping to advance global undertakings to meet the UN’s sustainable development goal to cut food waste in half by 2030, the Food Waste Index is the world’s most comprehensive collection and analysis of food waste data. 

It offers insights about the scale of global food waste and suggests that previous estimates have seriously underestimated the problem. The report shows that food waste appears to be double the size of previous estimates.

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