With International Mother Earth Day being celebrated this month, on 22 April, it’s important that we remind each other of the benefits of reducing food loss and waste. The nutritional and social benefits of recovering surplus food are well known. However, there are also major environmental benefits.
Reducing food loss and waste helps reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by diverting food away from landfills and avoiding the need for additional food production. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that the total GHG emissions would be reduced by 6-8% if humanity were to stop wasting food.
The Green House quantified the GHG emission reductions from FFSA’s Warehouse Foodbanking and digital platform, FoodShare, between 2019 and 2022. Overall, FFSA operations between March 2019 and December 2022 are estimated to have saved 409 025 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) emissions. The report found that:
- For every tonne of food recovered, 5,2 tonnes of greenhouse emissions were saved.
- Annual emission savings are equivalent to the emissions of more than 88 000 passenger vehicles driven for a year.
- Annual emission savings are equivalent to the emissions associated with the annual electricity usage of about 135 000 South African households.
Farmers, fresh produce markets, food manufacturers and food retailers routinely generate surplus food. Much of this ends up as waste. If diverted in time, a sizeable share of this food can instead be redirected for human consumption, helping to alleviate hunger, while saving the environment.
Sadly, very few farms and companies working with food consistently identify, remove or redirect it. It’s estimated that 10 million tonnes of food and beverages go to waste in South Africa every year – 34,3% of local food production.
FoodForward SA is pleased to be making such a huge difference in terms of mitigating the environmental impact of food loss and waste while working with our food value chain partners and beneficiary organisations to alleviate hunger and malnutrition. The healthier our ecosystems are, the healthier our planet and our people.
Climate change severely impacts weather conditions. We’ve witnessed first-hand, whilst conducting relief efforts in KwaZulu Natal and the Eastern Cape following the devastating floods, how thousands of people have been displaced and without food.
The time to act is now! Help us reduce food loss and waste by adding your signature to our Food Donations Policy petition today: https://foodforwardsa.org/petition
Andy Du Plessis
Managing Director of FFSA