When food goes uneaten, the resources used to produce it go to waste as well – growing, cooling, processing, transporting, storing, cooking, and ultimately disposing of food all have an enormous greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) footprint, regardless of whether the food is actually eaten. According to ReFED, a national nonprofit working to end food loss and waste across the food system and a resource partner for the PCC’s Pacific Coast Food Waste Commitment, uneaten food in the U.S. is responsible for 4% of total U.S. GHG emissions – equivalent to the amount generated each year by nearly 60 million cars on the road.

It’s not surprising then that Project Drawdown’s 2020 Drawdown Review declared reducing food waste as one of the top solutions for mitigating climate change. Food waste reduction curbs global food demand, which decreases farming inputs, land use, and the fossil fuel emissions associated with production. Beyond just mitigation, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified reducing food loss and waste as one of the few solutions that also can improve adaptation to climate change – specifically helping with food shortages expected to increase from natural disasters, droughts, and other climate-related phenomena.

And it’s not just the climate. Wasted food means other wasted resources – according to a ReFED analysis, food that is produced and never eaten consumes 14% of all freshwater and 18% of cropland, plus it’s the number one contributor to landfill volume in the U.S. (based on an EPA estimate). No matter how sustainably food is grown, it’s a terrible use of resources if it’s not eaten.

The good news is that reducing food waste is entirely possible. What will it take? Stakeholders from across the food system working together to implement solutions. Which is what the PCC’s Pacific Coast Food Waste Commitment is all about.

The Pacific Coast Food Waste Commitment is a collaboration between private sector partners – grocery retailers, manufacturers, and other food businesses – and state and local jurisdictions along the West Coast working together to achieve food waste prevention at scale, share knowledge and best practices, and attract new funders to the cause.

Learn how your business can join with others in this important effort, including:

Contact James Pronio at james.pronio@wwfus.org for more information.