Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems
This policy-oriented report (PDF) by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) presents a synthesis of existing evidence about the causes of food losses and waste (FLW) and suggests action to reduce them in order to improve food and nutrition security and the sustainability of food systems. It argues that successful reduction of food losses and waste will save resources and has the potential to improve food security and nutrition, goals shared with the Zero Hunger Challenge and the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. Due to the very extent of food losses and waste, it invites to consider them not as an accident but as an integral part of food systems. Food losses and waste are consequences of the way food systems function, technically, culturally and economically. Food losses and waste have been approached by two different angles: either from a waste perspective, with the associated environmental concerns, or from a food perspective, with the associated food security concerns. This duality of approaches has often led to confusions on the definition and scope of food losses and waste, contributing to unreliability and lack of clarity of data. Different definitions, different metrics, different measurement protocols and the lack of standards for data collection adapted to different countries and products, makes it difficult – and sometimes impossible – to compare studies, systems and countries. The HLPE recommends to work on 4 parallel mutually supportive tracks: 1) Improve data collection and knowledge sharing on FLW; 2) Develop effective strategies to reduce FLW, at the appropriate levels; 3) Take effective steps to reduce FLW; 4) Improve coordination of policies and strategies in order to reduce FLW.