If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases behind China and the United States. Yet, the connection between food waste and climate change is often missing.
UTC Building & Industrial Systems has released a new book to connect the issues of hunger, resource conservation and climate change mitigation. UTC Building & Industrial Systems is the world’s largest provider of building technologies, and is a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).
As a world leader in cold chain technologies that advance the global food supply chain, Carrier, a unit of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, has a unique perspective on the global food system, witnessing the stunning amount of food wasted globally. In an effort to elevate global awareness of this issue, John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer, UTC Building & Industrial Systems, and Eric Schultz, former chairman and CEO of Sensitech, a United Technologies company specializing in cold chain monitoring and visibility, co-authored a 182-page paperback book, called Food Foolish: The Hidden Connection Between Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change, which calls attention to the extraordinary social and environmental opportunities created by wasting less food.
“Hunger, food security, climate emissions and water shortages are anything but foolish topics,” said Mandyck. “The way we systematically waste food in the face of these challenges, however, is one of humankind’s unintended but most foolish practices. We hope this book will be a catalyst for a much needed connected global dialogue on an issue that we believe is essential to the sustainability of the planet.”
One-third or more of the food we produce each year is never eaten. Meanwhile, more than 800 million people – a population equivalent to the United States and European Union combined – are chronically hungry. Food waste also has a devastating environmental impact. The embodied carbon dioxide emissions in food waste alone represent 3.3 billion metric tons. That’s the energy used to produce food that’s never eaten, including fuel for tractors used for planting and harvest, electricity for water pumps in the field and the power for processing and packaging facilities. In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, the water used to grow the food we throw away is greater than the water used by any single nation on the planet.
“The very foods we need to address global nutrition and meet consumer demand are the most water-intensive and require the greatest protection along the supply chain,” said Schultz. “Their loss and waste not only intensifies hunger, but destroys our freshwater resources.”
The impacts of food waste are magnified by our growing planet. The world’s population is expected to grow by another 2 billion people by 2050, with the added challenge of feeding more.
“We already produce enough food to feed 10 billion people – everyone today and those expected by 2050,” said Mandyck. “We must implement readily available strategies to avoid food loss and extend food supplies – including energy efficient, sustainable and affordable technologies that better preserve food during transport and distribution, improved food safety standards and a change in consumer behavior. When we waste less, we feed more. Without action, the low-hanging fruit for reducing climate change will continue to literally rot before our eyes.”
Food Foolish was co-written by Mandyck and Schultz and features forewords from Philippe Cousteau, founder of EarthEcho International and Emmy-nominated television host, and Barton Seaver, explorer with National Geographic and director of the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
For more information about sustainability initiatives at UTC Building & Industrial Systems, visit www.NaturalLeader.com, follow @UTCBIS on Twitter or visit UTC Building & Industrial Systems’ sustainability blog at www.SustainabilityView.com.