Halving food waste by 2030 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are among the United Nations’ top Sustainable Development Goals. In support of feeding more and wasting less through a strengthened cold chain, Carrier will build on its inaugural “World Cold Chain Summit to Reduce Food Waste,” held in London in 2014, and host a second summit, in Singapore, on Dec. 2-3, 2015. Carrier is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX).
The summit will convene global leaders in the supply chain private sector, academia and government to discuss food waste in emerging and developed economies. During panel discussions and interactive workshops, participants will identify actions needed to accelerate progress in cold chain technology and policy development.
Keynote speakers scheduled to participate include 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).
“With new technologies and practices for a more efficient cold chain, significant progress can be made to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions, improve cross-border economic activity and help reduce hunger,” said David Appel, president, Carrier Transicold & Refrigeration Systems. “We are proud to convene and engage experts across private and public sectors to collaborate on developing actionable strategies to reduce food waste.”
One third or more of the food we produce each year is never eaten – a fact that has been widely recognized as a global environmental, social and economic issue. Food waste generates 7 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, or 3.3 million tonnes, offering a significant opportunity for countries and industries to reduce their negative impact on the climate. In fact, if food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, behind China and the U.S.
There are multiple reasons why food is lost or wasted throughout the supply chain but among them is the lack or deficiency of the cold chain as described in the FAO findings. The issue is most dire in countries with the least developed economies, but even in these countries where the cold chain is in nascent stages of development, there are many opportunities to strengthen it in order to preserve, protect and deliver perishable foods safely to market, and thus help to reduce food waste.
While nearly 800 million people around the world go to bed hungry every night, an additional 2 billion people worldwide are affected by micronutrient deficiency, or “hidden hunger.”
According to a 2015 research report by the University of Nottingham, “The Impact of Reducing Food Loss in the Global Cold Chain,” funded by a grant from United Technologies Corp., it’s estimated that 1.2 billion people globally have a weakened immune system due to zinc deficiency, 1.6 billion people suffer from anemia caused by a lack of iron, 1.8 billion people are affected by iodine deficiency, and 190 million pre-school age children and 19 million pregnant women are at risk of severe visual impairment or blindness due to vitamin A deficiency.
Only 10 percent of worldwide perishable foods are refrigerated, yet, as identified at the inaugural World Cold Chain Summit, refrigeration is the best technology, with no associated risks, to prolong the shelf life of perishable food. A varied diet is essential to provide micronutrients, and the cold chain is critical to transporting, preserving and providing high-micronutrient foods. Reducing fruit and vegetable loss would have a significant impact on the amount of micronutrients that would be available in developing countries like India, which would help to alleviate hidden hunger and many of the devastating deficiencies that result.
As a leader in high-technology refrigeration solutions ranging from cold storage, transport refrigeration, food retail cabinets and temperature-monitoring, Carrier is actively contributing to the development of the cold chain by providing a communication platform where all stakeholders have the opportunity to share, learn and build sustainable cold chain solutions to reduce food waste.
“We already produce enough food to feed 10 billion people – that’s everyone on the planet today and those expected by 2050,” said John Mandyck, UTC Chief Sustainability Officer and co-author of Food Foolish: The Hidden Connection Between Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change.
“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 education to affect 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.”
For more information about the World Cold Chain Summit to Reduce Food Waste, please contact Eric Prieur, Director, Cold Chain Sustainability, at eric.prie[email protected].
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.