UNEP Unveils Seven-Point Green Food Plan to Cut Waste, Feed the Planet

UNEP Unveils Seven-Point Green Food Plan to Cut Waste, Feed the Planet

World leaders at the U.N. Environment Programme's governing council meeting in Kenya said that, in the light of extreme amounts of waste in food production and consumption around the world, trimming inefficiencies could provide enough food to feed the global population.

In addition to environmental pressures on the global food supply, including climate change, biofuel production and drought, waste and inefficiencies in food production is oen of the biggest reasons for global food shortages, according to a new report released by the U.N. Environment Programme.

"The Environmental Food Crisis: The Environment's Role in Averting Future Food Crises," which was released last week at the UNEP's Governing Council meeting in Kenya last week, highlights some of the extreme wastes in the global food system:
• Researchers behind the report estimate that roughly 30 million tons of fish are discarded at sea each year;
• More than one-third of the world's cereal crops are used to feed livestock
• Food waste is rampant around the developed world: in the U.K., as much as 30 percent of all food purchased is not eaten, the U.S. is wasting between 40 and 50 percent of its food supply, and in Australia food waste makes up half of all landfill waste.
Making changes and reductions in how much food gets wasted can not only help feed today's global population, but can provide enough food for expected population growth over the next 40 years.

The UNEP report lays out a seven-point plan to achieve the goals of making smarter use of the food supply and protect wildlife and ecosystems at the same time.

"We need a Green revolution in a Green Economy but one with a capital G", U.N. Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said in a statement. "We need to deal with not only the way the world produces food but the way it is distributed, sold and consumed, and we need a revolution that can boost yields by working with rather than against nature."

Among the actions laid out in the plan are instituting price supports to protect the world's poor from rising food prices, shifting biofuels production to use materials that do not compete for farmland, using some of the world's food waste to create biofuels, and helping farmers adopt more diverse and ecologically friendly farming practices.

The full report, "The Environmental Food Crisis: The Environment's Role in Averting Future Food Crises," is available for free download from http://grida.no.