In 2015, United Nations presented 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for a period of 15 years. These goals are set as a direction for a more sustainable future on a global scale. When considering food waste, some of the essential goals are ending hunger, handling climate change, and ensuring sustainable consumption and production. Through dealing with sustainable consumption and production, the aim is to reduce food waste and food losses at every step of the supply chain by 2030.
The need for such a global document is apparent since food waste is an increasing concern that the whole world faces. $750 billion worth of food is wasted every year. Along with obvious financial loss, food waste causes immense climate changes and water consumption beyond necessary. As the world progresses forwards and produces more goods, the consumption of food and materials increases at an enormous speed. Statistics show that more than half of global waste is due to food and plastic consumption. Such numbers are certainly concerning. Many initiatives deal with this question both globally and locally through raising awareness on how much food we spend.
FAO organizes various projects and actions regarding the UN sustainability goals. A crucial step towards a sustainable food industry is transitioning to a more affordable, ecological and energy-efficient production and consumption.
Another way to combat excessive food loss is to measure the amount of food waste. Two indicators that show exact data of losses from production to consumption stage are food waste and food loss index. By measuring the food waste, we can see which part of the food chain lacks efficiency and, thus, act accordingly. This way, countries can plan their actions towards a more sustainable and ecologically accepted domestic food production.
While the global level is an unavoidable step to make positive changes worldwide, we should also have in mind the power of changes we can make daily. On a local scale, Sustainable Development Goals Fund gave recommendations on how to increase sustainability by reducing food waste. Some of the advices include being aware of the amount of food we buy daily, limiting plastic, storing our food correctly, using leftovers and not being too picky about the fruits and vegetables with marks. The truth is, everyone can make small changes at home in whichever way it works for them and help reduce food and water consumption as well as the climate changes that are affecting the planet excessively.
Restaurants, as major consumers of food, play a vital role in this battle. Fortunately, as the awareness of food waste expands, the number of restaurants that prevent unnecessary loss, using donated food and, when possible, leftovers, increases.
It goes without saying that global initiatives, actions and projects are not sufficient if we do not act locally. Indeed, cooperation between countries and organizations worldwide, together with actions made on a local household level, is the way to improve the current challenge regarding food waste. Only through constant interaction and relentless efforts is it possible to achieve sustainable development goals concerning food waste.