Each year, 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted. This is equivalent to the total production of sub-Saharan Africa. “Think. Eat. Save.”, the theme of this year’s World Environment Day (5 June), aims to combat food waste and loss, and encourage all of us to reduce our "foodprint". ISO standards can help us achieve this goal.
Global food production occupies 25% of all habitable land and is responsible for 70% of fresh water consumption, 80% of deforestation, and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, so it is important that we make it is as efficient as possible. The use of ISO standards increases efficiency and helps reduce unnecessary waste by harmonizing requirements and optimizing production processes.
Which standards can help?
Examples of standards that can help include management standards to optimize processes, such as ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment) and ISO 50001 (energy). In addition, ISO 14051 for material flow accounting helps business reduce waste and emissions while enhancing environmental performance.
ISO standards for water management also save precious resources. The future water footprint standard, ISO 14046, will help organizations keep track of water use. ISO is also developing ISO 16075-1, to encourage the reuse of wastewater in irrigation. With 70% of fresh water consumption being used for global food production, this could have a significant environmental impact.
ISO 14020, ISO 14021, ISO 14024 and ISO 14025 on environmental labelling can be used by organizations to communicate about their environmental impact so consumers can make informed choices.
World Environment Day is organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It is an opportunity to increase awareness of the environmental impact of our food choices and empower us to make informed decisions.
UNEP and FAO participate in various ISO technical committees and have been involved in the development of some of these standards.