13/02/2013 - Institution of Mechanical Engineers calls on urgent action to prevent 50% of all food produced in the world ending up as waste.

A new report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers has found that as much as 50% of all food produced around the world never reaches a human stomach due to issues as varied as inadequate infrastructure and storage facilities through to overly strict sell-by dates, buy-one-get-one free offers and consumers demanding cosmetically perfect food.

With UN predictions that there could be about an extra three billion people to feed by the end of the century and an increasing pressure on the resources needed to produce food, including land, water and energy, the Institution is calling for urgent action to tackle this waste.

The report ‘Global Food; Waste Not,Want Not’ found that:

  • Between 30% and 50% or 1.2-2 billion tonnes of food produced around the world each year never reaches a human stomach;
  • As much as 30% of UK vegetable crops are not harvested due to them failing to meet exacting standards based on their physical appearance, while up to half of the food that’s bought in Europe and the USA is thrown away by the consumer;
  • About 550 billion m3 of water is wasted globally in growing crops that never reach the consumer;
  • It takes 20-50 times the amount of water to produce 1 kilogram of meat than 1 kilogram of vegetables;
  • The demand for water in food production could reach 10–13 trillion m³ a year by 2050. This is 2.5 to 3.5 times greater than the total human use of fresh water today and could lead to more dangerous water shortages around the world;
  • There is the potential to provide 60-100% more food by eliminating losses and waste while at the same time freeing up land, energy and water resources.

The report recommends that:

  1. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) works with the international engineering community to ensure governments of developed nations put in place programmes that transfer engineering knowledge, design know-how, and suitable technology to newly developing countries. This will help improve produce handling in the harvest, and immediate post-harvest stages of food production.
  2. Governments of rapidly developing countries incorporate waste minimisation thinking into the transport infrastructure and storage facilities currently being planned, engineered and built.
  3. Governments in developed nations devise and implement policy that changes consumer expectations. These should discourage retailers from wasteful practices that lead to the rejection of food on the basis of cosmetic characteristics, and losses in the home due to excessive purchasing by consumers.

Download the report here

Source: Press Release, Institute of Mechanical Engineers

The City of Geneva, its local partners, as well as the European Sustainable Cities & Towns Conference Preparatory Committee, have the pleasure of inviting you to the next biggest European conference on green and socially responsible economy. With governance and finance for sustainable development as the focus, the 7th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns will take place from 17-19 April 2013 in the City of Geneva. The conference will bring together local and national governments, UN and European institutions, business, science institutes and research and development organisations from all over Europe.

The conference comes at a moment when the world’s attention to the exemplary role of local governments in sustainable development may never have been as extensive, driven partly by the urgent need to find lasting solutions to present crises, both financial and environmental. This is your opportunity to be part of an event that will mark a milestone for Europe’s local governments in their quest to achieve sustainable communities and which will allow you to exchange experiences and good practices. The 7th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns will explore sustainability in all areas of public administration and will try to identify effective institutional mechanisms to tackle the current financial and environmental crises.

Conference programme and structure

Over the course of three days, wide-ranging plenary sessions and interactive break-out sessions will be organised in the international Conference Centre Geneva (CICG), a conference venue at the heart of Geneva’s international policyarea. It will offer a broad dialogue platform to the conference’s expected 1,000 participants. The venue will provide large exhibition spaces, where sponsors and partners can present their activities. It will ensure excellent opportunities to network, exchange and discuss during numerous break-out sessions bringing together sustainability professionals and officials from different government levels in Switzerland and Europe.

Break-out Sessions to focus on topics such as:

  • Sustainable procurement
  • Education and awareness about sustainable development
  • Structural funds for sustainable cities
  • Low carbon communities
  • Responsible consumption
  • Urban environmental planning
  • Sustainable urban mobility
  • Urban biodiversity
  • Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Social and solidarity economy
  • Human rights and urban development

Workshops on-site

In addition to the rich programme offered at the mainconference venue, participants will have the opportunity to join workshops on-site in the Geneva area. On these occasions, the latest innovative activities in urban sustainability will be showcased. Local energy andenvironmental management infrastructures, urban mobility projects, and private sector sustainability initiatives are examples of workshops on-site proposedto conference participants.

Geneva invites mayors to a high-levelnetworking session

The Palais des Nations (United Nations Office in Genevaand European headquarters) will see a high-level political session for mayors only. It will be an ideal networkingsetting for the exchange of good practices and innovative institutional mechanisms among local and regionalleaders involved in sustainable development initiatives.

Register now!

Make sure to secure your place for this exciting event now. For more information about registration, programme development and logistics please visit regularly the conference website

28/01/2013 - On Tuesday 22 January, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and several other partners launched a new global campaign to cut food waste. The Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint campaign is supported by the SAVE FOOD Initiative to reduce food loss and waste along the entire chain of food production and consumption. It specifically targets food wasted by consumers, retailers and the hospitality industry, and highlights simple actions by consumers and food retailers which can help cut the 1.3 billion tonnes of food lost or wasted each year and help shape a sustainable future.

Worldwide, about one-third of all food produced, worth around US$1 trillion, gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems, according to data released by FAO and confirmed by a recent report by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. Food loss occurs mostly at the production stages – harvesting, processing and distribution – while food waste typically takes place at the retailer and consumer end of the food-supply chain. Per-capita waste by consumers is between 95 and 115 kg a year in Europe and North America/Oceania, while consumers in sub-Saharan Africa, south and south-eastern Asia each throw away only 6 to 11 kg a year.

Think.Eat.Save harnesses the expertise of organizations such as WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), Feeding the 5,000 and other partners, including national governments, who have considerable experience targeting and changing wasteful practices. The campaign aims to accelerate action and provide a global vision and information-sharing portal for the many and diverse initiatives currently underway around the world.

Visit for more information on the campaign.

To find out more about how to avoid (food) waste in everyday life, visit the Best Practices section of the Pre-waste website.

‘Think eat save’ campaign partners:

More information: