Role of Technology in efficiencies and food waste


The 10-year framework of 6 programmes on sustainable consumption and production patterns (10YFP) is a global framework of action to enhance international cooperation and to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production (SCP), in both developed and developing countries.

At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012, heads of state adopted the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on sustainable consumption and production patterns (10YFP), a global framework for action to accelerate the shift towards SCP in both developed and developing countries.

One of the programmes within 10YFP is the sustainable food systems programme (SFS), for which James Lomax is a focal point, who starts the interview by revealing that this aspect of the UN’s work was very much aimed at bringing these ideas into policy-making. He then tells us about the concrete activities of the SFS programme, in his own words.

“The SFS programme is there to address the fact that current food and agriculture systems – from production to consumption are failing in many ways. For example, in some parts of the world, they are leaving people hungry whereas in some places, obese and everything in between. At the same time, the food system causes much environmental degradation so, within that brief, UN Environment is working on the activities within the SFS programme’s 5 themes.

The first theme is around getting people to eat better, which could be described as sustainable nutrition. But what does that mean? It means more balanced diets and with less animal protein, – how to encourage people to move away from consuming processed foods and also to choose sustainably grown foods. Together this would mean more sustainable diets that are good for people and for the planet. The second point is around reducing food losses and waste, indeed as you know 30% of food produced it not eaten.

The third point is about sustainable supply chains and value, so how can they be more efficient and how can we bring in more sustainable markets to farmers? The fourth theme which is linked to the third is around agriculture and how can we make this sector more sustainable and encourage farmers to adopt more sustainable practices.

The fifth is a more overarching theme, which concerns enabling conditions and how to make food and agriculture policy-making more integrated. How can we bring in health practitioners into discussions about food production? How do we make food sector governance better from a sustainability angle? While it is all-encompassing – if all these things are done in the right way – then we can create a more transformative agenda.”

Elaborating on sustainability in terms of the process from farm to fork, Lomax explains that policymakers at a local and national level are not thinking in a cross-cutting way. For example, there is much silo thinking between agriculture and food policy makers, that prevent the development of holistic solutions and activities that positively impact agriculture, environment, business and human health.


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