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04 March 2021

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The fact that substantial amounts of food are produced but not eaten by humans has substantial negative impacts: environmentally, socially and economically. Estimates suggest that 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food that is not consumed.

Reducing food waste at retail, food service and household level can provide multi-faceted benefits for both people and the planet. However, the true scale of food waste and its impacts have not been well understood until now. As such, the opportunities provided by food waste reduction have remained largely untapped and under-exploited. If we want to get serious about tackling food waste, we need to increase efforts to measure food and inedible parts wasted at retail and consumer level and track food waste generation in kilograms per capita at country level. Only with reliable data, we are going to be able to track progress on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 12.3, which aims at halving per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reducing food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.

The Food Waste Index Report aims at supporting the goals of SDG 12.3. It does so by presenting the most comprehensive food waste data collection, analysis and modelling to date, generating a new estimate of global food waste; and publishing a methodology for countries to measure food waste, at household, food service and retail level, to track national progress towards 2030 and to report on SDG 12.3. Countries using this methodology will generate strong evidence to guide a national strategy on food waste prevention, that is sufficiently sensitive to pick up changes in food waste over two- or four-year intervals, and that enables meaningful comparisons between countries globally.

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UNEP Food Waste Index Report 2021

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