Lesson 5: Sustainability and Food Sector

Fact 1: The food industry accounts for more than one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, that makes it a target for most campaigns cut emissions.

However, so far, the industry has fallen behind others when it comes to sustainability.

For example, there were no representatives from the food industry among Earth.org’s top 50 sustainable companies for 2021.

A big part of the reason is the complex value chain from farm to fork via processing, distribution, and retail networks.

Fact 2: The land available for us to grow food is very limited.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. only 20% more land can be brought into productive use.

The global economy is facing huge resource challenges over the next 40 years as global population is expected to grow by 30% before 2050. Moreover, urbanization is increasing at such a rate that by 2050 around 70% of the population will live in cities.

Fact 3: Ambitious commitments and individual act.

Many businesses are setting ambitious commitments to send zero food-waste-to-landfill from their own direct operations, setting sustainability requirements for their suppliers and resourcing food locally, however it is up to every individual too, to use resources more efficiently.

Fact 4: Food waste happens throughout the supply chain.

  • Food crops can be spoilt before harvest (e.g., of 2017 at least 80% of central European fruit crops were lost due to a late frost)
  • Supermarkets and stores often throw out food that is beyond its best.
  • Consumers end up disposing some food straight from the fridge.
  • Greater waste during harvesting and processing in developing countries