About 60% of greenhouse gas emissions originated by human activities are caused by energy production1, a third of which is used by the agricultural sector
In Europe more than a fourth of energy consumption is attributable to cultivation and food processing2. In the United States it is estimated that agriculture accounts for about 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions with over 600 million tons of CO2 equivalent3.
1 UNRIC – “Agenda 20130”.
2 European Commission – “Energy use in the EU food sector: State of play and opportunities for improvement”, 2015.
3 EPA– “Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions”.
Agriculture accounts for about 30% of worldwide energy consumption
The food production chain in its entirety has a considerable impact on climate, however there are significant differences between the various types of food processes: for example, a dish of pasta - from farming the wheat to cooking in the kitchen - generates 1,013 g of CO2 emissions per kilo of product, and a meat-based dish impact on climate is 20 times higher4. Most of these emissions are concentrated in the agricultural phase.
Consumers’ dietary choices can affect the entire agri-food supply chain, by steering the food processing industry, and consequently the world of agriculture, towards processing raw materials with a lower environmental impact. INFOGRAFIC
4 Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition – Double Pyramid 2016
Today 38% of the Earth surface is given over to agricultural activities
5 Data FAOSTAT
About 70% of water consumed by the world population7 is attributable to agriculture, giving rise to water stress conditions in many geographical areas. High levels of water consumption, together with the use of pesticides and herbicides, whose use has increased by more than 25 times in the last 50 years8, are contributing to degrade water resources and natural habitats.
7 WWF, Farming: Wasteful water use
8 WWF, Farming: Pollution
The reduction of varieties and species used in agriculture is speeding up the loss of genetic variability and biodiversity: 90% of the world’s calorie needs are met through the cultivation of just 30 crop species, while 14 animal species account for 90% of those bred9. This loss of diversity means diminished ability of the crops to adapt to climate change, thus jeopardizing - on the long run - global food safety.
Every year in the world, about 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted 10
Most of the waste occurs when food is consumed: at home and in restaurants.
However, a substantial portion of the losses occur also in the phases of cultivation, harvest, storage and processing of the raw materials, mainly due to inefficiencies, inadequate agricultural practices, outdated storage and processing methods.
Each food loss means also a waste of natural resources and of the labour spent to produce it.
10 World Resources Institute, Reducing food loss and waste