Food Banks Prevent 12 Billion Kilos of Greenhouse Gases from Entering Earth’s Atmosphere

New Research Confirms Food Banks are a “Green” Solution to Hunger

Chicago, IL (September 29, 2020) – Food banks in 70 countries mitigated an estimated 12.39 billion kg of greenhouse gases (CO2-eq) last year– the equivalent to nearly 2.7 million passenger vehicles driven in the U.S. –  by rescuing food that would have otherwise been wasted or gone to landfill according to new data published in Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Roadmap to 2030 by The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN).

Advancing the SDGs: Roadmap to 2030 shows how community-based food banks are a “green” solution to hunger and found that food banks serving 66.5 million people are preventing approximately 3.75 million metric tons of safe, wholesome food from waste. Food waste left in landfill releases an estimated 3.3 billion tonnes of harmful greenhouse gases into Earth’s atmosphere, or approximately 6% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Put in the context of national emissions, food loss and waste would be the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

These findings include data from GFN’s network of food bank organizations in 44 countries, the European Food Banks Federation (FEBA), and Feeding America. The report’s findings come as COVID-19 exposes the need for more resilient food systems worldwide. The pandemic health crisis has disrupted the global food supply chain at all levels. Policies designed to contain the spread of COVID-19, like mandated closures and shelter-in-place, have impacted every level of the supply chain from farm labor to transportation to foodservice. As a result, food waste is increasing while millions more people are suddenly at risk of hunger and lines grow at food banks across the globe.

Lisa Moon, GFN President and CEO, said, “As COVID-19 pushes an additional 83-132 million people to go hungry and disrupts an already fragile food system, food banks are working tirelessly to move excess food and deliver it to millions of people facing food insecurity. Their work, as this research suggests, is instrumental in providing aid to where it’s needed most while ensuring that waste – and the negative effects it has on the environment – is reduced.”

These findings are released as the world celebrates its first International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste – a day that recognizes the fundamental role that sustainable food production plays in promoting food security and nutrition. Ending hunger and reducing food waste are foundational to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. One-third of all food produced for human consumption (1.6 billion tonnes) is being lost or wasted, while COVID-19 is pushing an additional 140 million people into extreme poverty and food insecurity.

This research was made possible by Bank of America Charitable Foundation. View Advancing the SDGs: Roadmap to 2030.

About The Global FoodBanking Network

The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) is an international non-profit organization that nourishes the world’s hungry through uniting and advancing food banks in more than 40 countries. GFN focuses on combating hunger and preventing food waste by providing expertise, directing resources, sharing knowledge and developing connections that increase efficiency, ensure food safety and reach more people facing hunger. Last year, GFN member food banks rescued over 900 million kilograms of food and grocery products and redirected it to feed 16.9 million people through a network of more than 56,000 social service and community-based organizations. For more information please visit


Katie Lutz

Manager, Communications, GFN


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