“If food waste was a country, it would be number three in global greenhouse gas emissions after China and the United States”- United Nations


Food waste has become one of the leading sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Today it is estimated that one-third of all food produced in the world is wasted, ending up in a landfill to decompose and produce harmful methane gas, which is even more potent than carbon dioxide.

Nearly 1.3 billion tons of fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, seafood, and grains are wasted annually across the globe before even getting to our plates due to logistical shortcomings such as transportation, refrigeration, or a lack of market access. As the world population continues to grow exponentially, billions of people are food insecure, living in extreme poverty in both developed and developing countries.[1] Thousands go to bed hungry, while one-third of the food in this world is thrown away or never makes it to markets.

Our challenge should not be how to produce more food, but to reduce the food wasted across the globe in order to feed existing populations more efficiently.[2] The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) include food waste reduction at the top of the list of priorities. SDG 12 focuses specifically on “sustainable consumption and production patterns.” SDG target 12.3 calls for the reduction of global food wastage by retailers and consumers by 50%, and for reducing food losses along the value chain by 2030.[3] The carbon footprint of food waste globally is estimated to produce 3.3B Tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.[4]

Since May 2015, the G20 agriculture ministers have been working towards solving the global challenge of preventing and reducing food loss and food wastage and have encouraged all G20 members to strengthen their collective efforts.[5] This is a reality that we can change if addressed with collaborative global and national-level action.

There are many ways that we can change the paradigm not only at the consumer level but also at the industry and policy level as well. Research is being conducted currently to create more sustainable supply chains, support local producers, share best practices, and create better programs and mechanisms to redistribute food to vulnerable populations.

An increasing number of farmers, distributors and food manufacturers have begun to acknowledge the necessity and priority needed to find solutions for food waste reduction. Organizations are utilizing digital supply chain tools that can drastically reduce food loss and waste.

Blockchain technology could be a viable solution for the food system. Having end-to-end traceability powered by blockchain will allow organizations to efficiently track the food and products across the entire supply chain with collaborative data sharing and full transparency for the distributors, retailers, and even the consumers.

Today, companies are leveraging blockchain and IoT technology in order to provide insights into better storage, tracking, and shipping practices. The technology is able to trace all food products securely from seed to table, or farm to fork. More corporations and governments should consider the adoption of new policies and innovative technology to tackle one of the largest culprits of carbon emissions through food waste reduction. The potential of Blockchain technology for this purpose could not only feed millions but could also save up to $120 billion annually.

To learn more about how Blockchain technology can revolutionize sustainable supply chain management, join the Government Blockchain Association (GBA) Sustainable Environmental Stewardship (SES) Working Group in their multi-topic series on how these innovative technology solutions can help to reduce our collective carbon footprint.

Speakers, Jasmine Gould, Priya Guliani, and Armeen Gould will share their experience in the areas of sustainable supply chain management across multiple sectors. Join us on October 29th from 12:00-1:00 PM U.S. EST on Clubhouse: https://www.clubhouse.com/event/MEKg2kJl

[1] Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). (2011). Food Waste Footprint & Climate Change. UN FAO. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/3/a-bb144e.pdf

[2] Melo-Rijk, Fleras, J. et al Usda. (2019, May 3). No Place For Food Waste! WWF-Philippines Kicks Off Savour Planet 2019 With a New Theme. Retrieved from https://www.adobomagazine.com/philippine-news/no-place-for-food-waste-wwf-philippines-kicks-off-savour-planet-2019-with-a-new-theme/

[3] Fernandes, K. (2019, May 6). Food wastage and the Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from https://thecsrjournal.in/food-wastage-sustainable-development-goals/

[4] Paritosh, K., Kushwaha, S., Yadav, M., Pareek, N., Chawade, A., & Vivekanand, V. (2017). Food Waste to Energy: An Overview of Sustainable Approaches for Food Waste Management and Nutrient Recycling. Hindawi: BioMed Research International, 2017, 1–19. doi: https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/2370927

[5] Fernandes, K. (2019, May 6). Food wastage and the Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from https://thecsrjournal.in/food-wastage-sustainable-development-goals/

Written by Jasmine Gould