Food waste: France is the most sustainable country
In France, supermarkets are banned from throwing away unsold food and restaurants must provide doggy bags when asked. This has helped France become the best country in terms of food sustainability.
Japan, Germany, Spain and Sweden rounded out the top five in an index published the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which graded 34 nations based on food waste, environment-friendly agriculture and quality nutrition.
One third of all food produced worldwide or 1.3 billion tons per year are wasted, according to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Food releases planet-warming gases as it decomposes in landfills. The food the world wastes accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than any country except for China and the United States. Global hunger levels rose for the first time in more than a decade, last year, with 815 million people, more than one in 10 on the planet, going hungry.
France was the first country to introduce specific food waste legislation and loses only 1.8 percent of its total food production each year. It plans to cut this in half by 2025.
High-income countries performed better in the index, but the United States lagged in 21st place, dragged down by poor management of soil and fertilizer in agriculture, and excess consumption of meat, sugar and saturated fats, the study said.
The United Arab Emirates, despite having the highest income per head of the 34 countries, was ranked last, reflecting high food waste of almost 1,000 kilos per person per year, rising obesity and an agriculture sector dependent on depleting water resources, it said.
Author: Petra Hartman (Ekvilib Institute)