Fixing the problem of global warming will require more than switching to electric cars and getting our electricity from solar cells and windmills. The entire food supply chain, from farms to supermarket shelves, has an important role to play in climate solutions as well.

Recognizing that, FMI – The Food Industry Association has joined the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA), a group representing farmers, forest owners, the food sector, state governments and environmental advocates.

FACA, which was established in February, has come up with more than 40 recommendations based on three principles: agricultural and forestry climate policies must be built upon voluntary, incentive-based programs and market-driven opportunities; they must promote resilience and adaptation in rural communities; and they must be science-based.

The recommendations, which can be read at agclimatealliance.com, cover six areas of focus: soil health; livestock and dairy; forests and wood products; energy; research; and food loss and waste.

That last category of food loss and waste is one in which food manufacturers, retailers and consumers can have a big impact.

In a blog post titled “Why the Food Industry Cares About Climate Change,” FMI president and chief executive officer Leslie Sarasin outlined the scope of the problem.

“Estimates show that anywhere from 25% to as much as 40% of food grown in the United States ends up as food waste,” Sarasin wrote. “As a result, the resources invested in growing, raising, manufacturing and transporting this food are essentially wasted. Among the easiest and most important steps toward creating a safe, affordable and sustainable food supply is to ensure our existing resources are utilized as efficiently as possible. Tackling food waste is, therefore, an important step toward achieving the larger goals of FACA.”

Sarasin argued that the food supply chain “needs consumers to engage on these challenges to help reenforce our larger climate goals,” adding that “several of FACA’s recommendations recognize this reality and focus on consumers and consumer behavior.” Those recommendations include endorsing a consistent national product date labeling standard developed by FMI and the Consumer Brands Association, and developing a public-private partnership food waste education effort modeled on the Partnership for Food Safety Education.

“Food waste education is key to encouraging consumers — and young people in particular — to focus on ways they can be successful agents of change in the broader climate change discussion,” Sarasin wrote, adding that “reducing food loss and waste can benefit the supply chain, families, and the world, now and in the future.”

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