Environmental Economics and Policy Studies

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 43–77

The effects of reducing food losses and food waste on global food insecurity, natural resources, and greenhouse gas emissions

  • Yosuke Munesue
  • Toshihiko Masui
  • Takesato Fushima
Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10018-014-0083-0

Cite this article as:
Munesue, Y., Masui, T. & Fushima, T. Environ Econ Policy Stud (2015) 17: 43. doi:10.1007/s10018-014-0083-0


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has estimated that in 2010–2012, 868 million people were undernourished worldwide. At the same time, FAO reported that approximately 1.3 billion tons of food were lost or wasted globally in 2007, which was equivalent to approximately one-third of the food produced for human consumption at the time. Food losses and waste deprive the poor living in developing regions of opportunities to access food, cause significant depletion of resources such as land, water, and fossil fuels, and increase the greenhouse gas emissions associated with food production. In the present study, the effects of reducing food losses and waste on global food security, natural resources, and greenhouse gas emissions were evaluated using a food trade model operating under the assumption that in 2007, developed regions, as defined by the FAO, would reduce food losses and waste by up to 50 % during the stages of postharvest handling and storage, processing and packaging, distribution, and consumption. The results obtained show quantitatively that reductions in food losses in developed regions decrease the number of undernourished people in developing regions by up to 63 million, leading to decreases in the harvested area, water utilization, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with food production.


Food losses and food waste Food insecurity Natural resources Greenhouse gas emissions Agricultural trade model 

JEL Classification

I30 Q17 Q18 Q24 Q25 Q54 

Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yosuke Munesue
    • 1
  • Toshihiko Masui
    • 2
  • Takesato Fushima
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Decision Science and TechnologyTokyo Institute of TechnologyTokyoJapan
  2. 2.National Institute for Environmental Studies, Social and Environmental Systems DivisionTsukubaJapan

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