Food banks slashing global CO2 emissions

25th March 2019

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Ho Yin Leung

Food banks operating in 57 countries across the world prevent 10.5 billion kilos of CO2 emissions entering the atmosphere each year, equivalent to the output of nearly 2.2 million passenger vehicles.

That is according to a report released today by the Global FoodBanking Network (GFN), which highlights the key environmental and social benefits of food banks worldwide.

Serving 62.4 million people, the GFN, European Food Banks Federation (FEBA) and Feeding America are thought to prevent 2.68 million metric tons of edible surplus produce going to waste annually.

By helping to tackle hunger and slash emissions, the report argues that food banks are now vital to meeting the objectives of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

GFN CEO, Lisa Moon, said: “The report highlights the large-scale environmental and social impact of food banks, a community-based model that is positioned to address the paradox of global hunger and food waste.

“This community-based approach must be considered as a pivotal, stop gap solution in the fight against hunger, alongside public policy change that addresses the root causes of poverty.“

It is estimated that one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. If a quarter of this were saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million people.

The report highlights how 20% of safe food is wasted over confusion with “best by“, “before best“, “use by“ and “sell by“ dates on packages, and calls on producers, retailers and governments to address this.

It recommends that businesses standardise date coding, measure and manage their food waste, increase support for food banks and develop a global donation policy.

And it suggests governments measure food insecurity using the Food Insecurity Experience Scale, establish cross-sector cooperation to encourage surplus food donation, partner with food banks and boost funding.

The report was released ahead of the Food Bank Leadership Institute (FBLI), a three-day conference in London on 25-27 March 2019.

“The FBLI has supported community leaders from 60 countries to provide hunger relief through the recovery of edible surpluses,“ Moon said. “Many are addressing emerging issues such as nutrition, rural hunger, and prepared food rescue while advocating for broader change in their communities.“

Image credit: iStock


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