Making a bold declaration at its World Cold Chain Summit to Reduce Food Waste in Singapore last month, Carrier, a world leader in high-technology heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration solutions, delivered a call to action to begin “The Age of Food Efficiency.” The conference, which was held for the first time in Asia, convened 131 delegates from 33 nations, including global leaders in the supply chain private sector, academia, and government to discuss and develop scalable, sustainable solutions to expand and improve the cold chain to reduce food loss and waste. Carrier is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX).
Keynote speakers at the two-day conference included Dr. Joseph Mpagalile, Agro-food Industries officer, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); Didier Coulomb, general director of the International Institute of Refrigeration; and Clementine O’Connor, sustainable food systems consultant, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
Top takeaways from the Summit include:
- The Summit endorsed the new United Nations Sustainable Development 12.3 Goal that calls for halving food waste – at retail and consumer levels, as well as reducing food losses along the entire global food supply chain – by 2030.
- The FAO is considering a new Cold Chain Coalition to fight food waste in developing countries.
- The International Institute of Refrigeration estimates 23 percent of food loss and waste in developing countries is due to the lack of a cold chain. For perspective, Ethiopia has just 2 liters per person of refrigeration compared to 344 per person in the U.S.
- A new, independent study shows that greenhouse gas emissions associated with food waste could see a 10-fold net reduction if developing countries have the same level of cold chain implementation as the developed world. This is powerful evidence that a green cold chain can be effective not only in feeding more people, but taking a bite out of the astounding 3.6 gigatons of CO2 associated with food waste every year. If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The study confirms that clear improvements are achievable.
- According to Professor Judith Evans of London South Bank University, in developed countries, 42 percent of food waste happens at the household level, confirming the need for greater consumer awareness. The U.K. awareness campaign “Love Food Hate Waste” is credited with generating a 21 percent reduction in household food waste since 2010, she shared.
- The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building standard could be an effective model for consideration for a green cold chain standard.
“One third or more of the food we produce each year is never eaten, yet more than 50 percent of the wasted food can have its shelf life extended by the cold chain,” said David Appel, president, Carrier Transicold & Refrigeration Systems. “Only 10 percent of worldwide perishable foods are refrigerated today, so there is immense opportunity to cut food waste and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions by implementing or improving the cold chain. As a leader in high-technology refrigeration solutions, Carrier actively contributes to the development of the cold chain by providing a communication platform, like this Summit, where all stakeholders have the opportunity to share, learn and build sustainable cold chain solutions to reduce food waste.”
Also at the event, Carrier presented a donation of $10,000 to ZeroWasteSG, a not-for-profit and non-government organization in Singapore dedicated to eliminating the concept of waste, to help promote its “Save Food, Cut Waste” campaign.
“We know there are many reasons why food is lost or wasted – but among them is the lack of or the underdevelopment of the cold chain,” said John Mandyck, UTC Chief Sustainability Officer and co-author of Food Foolish: The Hidden Connection Between Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change. “Refrigeration is the best technology to ensure food safety for perishable goods and prolong its shelf life. That’s why this Summit is so important, as it helps connect a global dialogue on how we can sustainably grow the cold chain – which in turn, can reduce food waste and feed a growing population with fresh foods containing necessary micronutrients for good health and development.”
“Over the last 20 years,” Mandyck added, “we’ve experienced the ‘Age of Energy Efficiency,’ taking the same power base and spreading it more efficiently to urbanize in a sustainable manner. Energy efficiency has gone far, with more to go. It is now time for the ‘Age of Food Efficiency,’ using the same food supply base that produces enough to feed 10 billion people – enough for those on the planet today and enough for those that will join us in 2050 -- and in the process avoid more production and environmental emissions that come with it. The potential to extend food supplies, with the help of an improved green cold chain, is extraordinary.”
Founded by the inventor of modern air conditioning, Carrier is the world’s leader in high-technology heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration solutions. Carrier experts provide sustainable solutions, integrating energy-efficient products, building controls and energy services for residential, commercial, retail, transport and food service customers. Carrier is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp., a leading provider to the aerospace and building systems industries worldwide. For more information, visit www.carrier.com or follow @SmartColdChain on Twitter.