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Pointing the way to a sustainable cold chain

USA: Developing countries are being provided with the models to expand a sustainable cold chain and thereby help to reduce food loss and waste.

The Cold Chain Database and Modelling initiative, launched by the Global Food Cold Chain Council (GFCCC) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) OzonAction, is seen as being key to the framework proposed by GFCCC for supporting the expansion of a sustainable cold chain on a global basis. It was published in advance of next month’s United Nations Food Systems Summit.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), between 30% and 40% of food grown annually is lost or wasted. In a follow-on study last year conducted by the International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR), it was projected that more effective cold chain utilisation could reduce this loss rate by approximately one third.  

With support provided by the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund, the Cold Chain Database and Modelling initiative is currently being piloted in six countries –  Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Maldives, North Macedonia, Paraguay, and Senegal. From these, a model is being developed that will allow the projection of benefits of cold chain expansion.

“The analyses generated by this tool will help countries build their national policy and action framework for more efficient cold chain utilisation and increased food security, which is necessary if we are to achieve the Zero Hunger objective embodied in UN Sustainable Development Goal,” said UNEP OzonAction head James Curlin. 

“At the same time, the Cold Chain Database will help advance environmental protection by identifying opportunities for lower global warming potential refrigerants and more energy efficient equipment, which will help reduce both direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions.”

“The framework we are proposing will allow countries to expand their cold chain sustainably, thereby increasing food security, expanding economic opportunity, and realising significant environmental benefits,” said GFCCC executive director Kevin Fay.  “It is a road map that the international community can embrace.”

The Cold Chain Database concept, methodology and data collection questionnaires are offered to interested countries and partners to help in assessing local cold chain capacities and designing respective action plans and policies. Further details here.

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