Food waste – a problem for the environment and the economy
One third of products intended for human consumption are lost at various stages of the production process whether as raw materials, semi-finished products or finished products. Our rapporteur Ossi Martikainen (Finland / Keskusta) called on the European Commission to consider setting indicative targets for reducing this food waste.
“Wasteful production and consumption patterns entail substantial loss of global water resources, pose a threat to biodiversity in the form of arable land that has been unnecessarily cleared or is unproductive, impoverish the soil, and squander other finite natural resources. Every year for instance 28% of global arable land or 1.4 billion hectares produce food that goes to waste. Great volumes of food lost along the production chain or at the finished product stage devalues agriculture and food production, and skews distribution between every player – also at the level of the consumer – in the food produce value chain, with unfair results: the annual financial loss due to food waste is estimated at USD 1 trillion, the environmental cost at USD 700 billion and the social cost at USD 900 billion.”
Local and regional authorities can play an essential role in preventing and reducing food waste and promote good practices for better consumption and waste management. Martikainen emphasised that this opinion would feed into European Commission work on efficient resource use and the circular economy. He advocates a common European target to avoid schemes differing widely among member states, while taking account of the specific circumstances of each country. He held Finland and France up as examples, both of which have legislated to reduce food waste.
His opinion will be adopted at the plenary session of the Committee of the Regions. Read it here in all official EU languages: http://goo.gl/8qyW2V.