Marknadens effektiva resursallokering?

If the amount of food wasted around the world were reduced by just 25% there would be enough food to feed all the people who are malnourished, according to the UN.

Each year 1.3bn tonnes of food, about a third of all that is produced, is wasted, including about 45% of all fruit and vegetables, 35% of fish and seafood, 30% of cereals, 20% of dairy products and 20% of meat. Meanwhile, 795 million people suffer from severe hunger and malnutrition.

Well-publicised attempts to combat the loss of food – such as recent laws in France that require supermarkets to distribute unsold food to charities – have highlighted the issue of food waste, identified by the UN as one of the great challenges to achieving food security.

In wealthy countries, there are low levels of unintentional losses but high levels of “food waste”, which involves food being thrown away by consumers because they have purchased too much, or by retailers who reject food because of exacting aesthetic standards.

In developed countries, consumers and retailers throw away between 30% and 40% of all food purchased, whereas in poorer countries only 5% to 16% of food is thrown away. According to a 2011 report, in Europe and North America each person wasted 95-115kg of otherwise edible food annually, whereas in sub-Saharan Africa and south and south-east Asia the equivalent waste was just 6-11kg.

The environmental impact of food loss and waste is high. The carbon footprint of food produced and not eaten is estimated at 3.3 gigatonnes of CO2, meaning that if food waste were a country it would rank as the third highest national emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China. About 1.4bn hectares, or close to 30% of available agricultural land, is used to grow or farm food that is subsequently wasted. And more surface and groundwater, or “blue water”, is used to produce wasted food around the globe than is used for agriculture by any single country, including India and China.

“The whole issue of climate change has to do with our economy of production and consumption being out of balance with what the Earth can provide,” says Van Otterdijk. “Production of food is one of the biggest production sectors in the world, and if one-third of all this is just produced in vain you can imagine what a huge impact this has on the natural resources – on land, water, energy and greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Guardian

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