Thursday, November 17 – Food Tank


Food Tank’s Dispatch from the UN Climate Change Conference is a series of special newsletters released daily during COP27. To make sure it gets straight to your inbox and to be among the first to receive it, subscribe to the Food Tank newsletter now by clicking here.

At least 40% of all food produced is wasted. According WWF, food waste is responsible for approximately 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s four times more than the global airline industry.

Celebrity chef Bobby Chinn calls tackling food loss and fruit waste within reach, which can be done “in a faster way” than many other climate solutions.

“Food waste is a lack of imagination,” said Paul Newnham, director of the Advocacy Center for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2, during our Food4Climate Pavilion panels yesterday.

Speakers agreed that we need a cultural shift in the way we all enjoy food. And education is a key tool in reducing waste.

“[We need to] reach that level where everyone understands that it’s better to reuse what you have, it’s better to reduce the waste you generate and recycle everything you have,” says Desmond Alugnoa, co-founder of the organization Green Africa Youth.

David Jackson, director of marketing and public affairs at Winnow, emphasizes that “we need to take the blame out of the conversation” about food waste. Instead, those who work in a stressful environment, like leaders, need more resources and support because we’re all working towards the same goals.

“Food waste is one of the few topics where you can get everyone to say there’s a win-win if we can solve this problem,” says Megan Morikawa, Global Director of Sustainability at Iberostar Group .

Currently, only 21 countries have included food loss and waste in their NDCs. And as Lisa Moon of The Global FoodBanking Network shared, the majority of governments either don’t encourage — or even actively discourage — solutions like food donations. Instead, most changes happen within local communities.

“You can put all these goals you want, you can shine these fancy banners around the reduction, but it always comes down to what’s happening at this local level, and that’s the hardest part,” says Pete. WWF’s Pearson.

Throughout the week, speakers highlighted the importance of local level investment and support to achieve a range of climate goals.

“If we want to talk about biodiversity, we should turn to the people who know how to do it and who have been doing it for more than 30,000 years in their territories,” Rupa Marya, a doctor and author of Inflamed, tells our Food Systems Pavilion panel yesterday.

Indigenous peoples – less than 5% of the world’s population – protect 80% of the Earth’s biodiversity. These communities need resources, capital and support in their role as stewards of the land and the Earth.

“An ecosystem rich in biodiversity is a resilient ecosystem,” says Arjun Hausner of Impossible Foods.

Here are some other important takeaways from the COP27 negotiations and discussions:

Reuters reported on Tuesday that the world is making little progress on food waste. While many countries pledged in 2015 to halve food waste by 2030, few are on track to achieve it, according to the leaders interviewed. Many blame a lack of federal leadership and resource allocation.

“What a real focus on this would look like would be for each of these agencies to dedicate staff, to give those staff funding to implement things,” says Dana Gunders, executive director of ReFED.

Meanwhile, there is debate over whether nations should continue with the 1.5 degree target that has been at the heart of many COP27 discussions.

“When I arrived here I had a very strong sense of regression,” Mary Robinson, Ireland’s former president, told The New York Times. “Every tiny fraction of a degree increase is harmful, and we have to fight to avoid going over 1.5.”

And Brazil’s President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Sil told crowds at COP27 that “Brazil is back on the world stage.” After deforestation in the Amazon reached record highs under President Jair Bolsonaro, President-elect Lula met with young Brazilian activists this week and called for the next COP to be held in the Amazon.

But Lula won the presidency by a narrow margin, and some wonder how productive he can be with a divided government. (Learn more about BBC.)

For Food Tank’s final day of programming at COP27 today, we’re tackling a big topic: Transforming Value Chains and Growing Inclusive Markets (Food Systems Pavilion, 10:00-11:45 EET / 3:00 -4:45 a.m. ET / 12:00 p.m.–1:45 a.m. PT).

First, we’ll explore how to build a truly just transition for farmers, ranchers and eaters with Didier ToubiaAleph Farms; Estrella Penunia-BanzuelaAsian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development; Chief Caleen SiskSpiritual Leader and Hereditary Chief, Winnemem Wintu Tribe; Nico JanssenIKEA Foundation; Gernot Laganda, United Nations World Food Programme; and Anne JellemaHivos.

Next, we’ll discuss eaters as agents of change with Fabrice MurianaAssociate of the Instituto Regenera; Lasse Bruun50×40; Brent Loken, WWF; and Steph SpyroDaily Express.

And finally, to talk about the role of private and public partnerships in achieving a just transition, I will be joined by Naglaa AhmedEgyptian Biodynamic Association; Thomas Isman, Nature conservation; and Keegan Kautzky, World Food Prize Foundation. (Register to attend in person HERE or follow the live stream HERE.)

I hope you’ll join us for some or all of these important conversations, and I encourage you to check out some of our partner events. #FoodCOP27 may be coming to an end, but there are still plenty of exciting discussions to follow.

What I think about as the COP27 negotiations continue:

  • “1.5 must be alive,” says Irish Climate Minister Eamon Ryan. “I think it’s still possible…the political will behind it is going to be very important.” Ryan responded at a press conference to fears of backtracking attempts on efforts to maintain the 1.5 degree target. (Learn more about irish time.)
  • Draft text published this week gave two possible options for a COP27 decision on loss and damage: establish a fund for loss and damage by the end of 2024, or commit to two years of technical work whether to address this through a “mosaic” of funding modalities. . Molwyn Joseph, outgoing president of the Alliance of Small Island States, said moving forward without funds to address loss and damage “would be a serious setback for future COPs”. (Learn more about Bloomberg.)

Powerful quotes from today’s talks:

  • “Education, personal experience with food is very, very important.” — Raphaël Podselver, Director of United Nations Affairs, ProVeg International
  • “Cities are the biggest consumers of food. At the same time, cities have huge problems with waste management…and cities can’t afford to do nothing around food,” — Dana Omran, Global Director of Strategy and Operations, Resilient Cities Network
  • “Philanthropy needs to join hands, recruit other funders, create unexpected alliances, and truly be leaders who can shoulder some of the risk to facilitate the path forward for others to step in. — Sara Farley, Vice President, Global Food Initiative, Rockefeller Foundation

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Photo courtesy of Ives IvesUnsplash


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