Study: Food banks reduce food waste
Food banks operating in 57 countries around the world mitigate an estimated 10.54 billion kg of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2eq) annually — comparable to nearly 2.2 million passenger vehicles, according to a study released by the Chicago-based Global FoodBanking Network.
The study, entitled “Waste Not, Want Not: Toward Zero Hunger — Food Banks as a Green Solution to Hunger,” focused on the contributions of local food bank organizations in achieving the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.
The study found that the food bank networks of GFN, the European Food Banks Federation (FEBA) and Feeding America serve 62.5 million people and prevent approximately 2.68 million metric tons of safe, edible surplus food being wasted.
The study was released ahead of the Food Bank Leadership Institute, a three-day conference in London this week.
GFN is also calling for food producers, retailers, and governments to adopt simplified label recommendations, noting that 20 percent of safe, edible food is wasted over confusion with “best by,” “best before,” “use by,” and “sell by” dates on packages.
“These measures should help improve the current paradox, where one-third of all food produced for human consumption (1.3 billion tons) is being lost or wasted, whilst one in nine people (821 million) go hungry,” the group said.
GFN President and CEO Lisa Moon said, “The ‘Waste Not, Want Not’ report highlights the large-scale environmental and social impact of food banks, a community-based model that is positioned to address both the paradox of global hunger and food waste during a time when hunger rates are regrettably on the rise. 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.”