Recent analysis from the World Resources Institute finds that nearly one-quarter of all food (measured by calorie) produced for people globally is lost due to spoilage or waste. In the U.S., the number is even higher, with a whopping 42 percent of all calories not reaching people’s mouths. Of that, about 20 percent of meat is lost or wasted. That means come Thanksgiving Day, of the approximately 46 million turkeys likely to be purchased, over 9 million will go uneaten.
Globalization means that we are all connected—for good or for bad. Systems are connected across countries and sectors. For instance, food production is intimately connected to energy, water, and finance, and drought in the United States can raise food prices for people all around the world. Changes in one or a few factors in interlinked systems may trigger crises that cascade across time and space in unpredictable ways.
A new WRI issue brief, Weaving the Net, explores how complex, global crises can have profound impacts on low-income, vulnerable households. In many cases, climate change can exacerbate these impacts. The world experienced this fact—to dramatic effect—when the food crisis unexpectedly erupted in 2008.
A new interactive map from WRI’s Aqueduct project reveals that more than 25 percent of the world’s agriculture is grown in areas of high water stress. This figure doubles when looking at irrigated cropland, which produces 40 percent of global food supply.
This analysis highlights the tension between water availability and agricultural production. Finding a balance between these two critical resources will be essential—especially as the global population expands.
Earlier this year, WRI analysis found that one in four food calories produced go uneaten. Yesterday a group of experts took the first step toward helping to curb this massive amount of food loss and waste.
At the Global Green Growth Forum in Copenhagen, WRI announced the launch of a process to develop a global standard for measuring food loss and waste. This standard, known as the “Global Food Loss and Waste Protocol,” will enable countries and companies to measure and monitor the food loss and waste that occur within their boundaries and value chains in a credible, practical, and consistent manner.
COPENHAGEN//WASHINGTON — The World Resources Institute (WRI) today announced the first step in designing a global standard for measuring food loss and waste. The forthcoming guidance, called the “Food Loss and Waste Protocol,” will enable countries and companies to measure and monitor the food loss and waste that occur within their boundaries and value chains in a credible, practical, and consistent manner.
One out of every four food calories intended for people is not ultimately consumed. The Protocol seeks to address the challenges of measuring food loss and waste.
Innovative farmers are beginning to demonstrate how agroforestry and other relatively simple practices can significantly boost food production in Africa’s drylands. In fact, according to a new WRI working paper, improving land and water management on just 25 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s 300 million hectares of prime cropland would result in an additional 22 million tons of food. This strategy could go a long way towards sustainably feeding Africa—and the world.