To help people learn about the connection between food waste and climate change and inspire them to take action to prevent food waste, Hellmann’s has partnered with Israeli-Dutch multi-disciplinary artist Itamar Gilboa to create a powerful installation titled The Food Waste Effect. The artwork aims to put the issue of food waste front and centre at COP26 where it will be seen by the expected 25,000 Green Zone visitors as they enter the area.
Food loss and waste is an unseen, under-valued problem. If it were a nation, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China and the USA. Up to 10 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions originates from food loss and waste however the link between food waste and climate change is poorly understood. As such, the issue often doesn’t receive the attention it deserves in conversations on how humanity tackles the climate crisis.
The installation features 403 plaster replicas of food items inside a glass greenhouse. From broccoli to bananas, chicken and bread, the items represent 117kg of food waste: the amount produced by the average UK family every six months. Casting the waste in durable white plaster, reflects the permanency of both food waste and its environmental consequences. The surround greenhouse seeks to make visible the commonly overlooked link between food waste and greenhouse gas emissions, CO2 and methane. A LED ticker suspended above the objects displays a stream of date quantifying the scale of food waste and its greenhouse gas contributions.
Artist Itamar Gilboa said, “Through the work, I wish to create a space where conversations on ecology, permanence and personal responsibility can emerge. My hope is that the work will encourage people to think about the implication of their personal consumption habits on global food and climate issues, and, as a result, inspire them to recognise how much power they hold to combat waste and climate change.
Gilboa’s previous work includes the Food Chain Project, a statement on modern consumption. Over a full year, Itamar made a plaster replica of every item of food he consumed. He then sold many of the 8,000 products in a pop-up supermarket, starting a conversation on over-consumption while raising funds for charities tackling food issues.
Christina Bauer-Plank, Global Brand Vice President Hellmann’s at Unilever said, “Globally, 70% of people agree “avoiding food waste” is important to them, yet household food waste remains a massive issue and significant contributor to climate change. In a major recent behaviour change study conducted by Hellmann’s we found that small changes can make a big difference. Adopting a single Use-Up day per week, for example, making a meal from only the food you already have in your home using a simple ‘flexipe’ can help cut household food waste by one third. With 60% of food waste happening in the home, we can all drive positive change from our own kitchens.”
My hope is that the work will encourage people to think about the implication of their personal consumption habits on global food and climate issues, and, as a result, inspire them to recognise how much power they hold to combat waste and climate change.
Globally, one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted and 1.3 billion tonnes of food go to waste every year. It causes about $940 billion per year in economic losses. Instead of feeding people, this food feeds climate change.
Dr Liz Goodwin, Senior Fellow and Director, Food Loss and Waste at World Resources Institute and member of Champions 12.3 said, “Food loss and waste is not just about the food that is thrown away and that would end up at the landfill. We also have to account for the resources used in producing the food, which include water, land, energy, labour and capital. The issue must be high on the agenda for global leaders across business and government if we are to deliver the targets in the Paris Agreement. Only if we tackle food loss and waste can we feed the world within planetary boundaries, mitigate climate change and relieve pressure on natural resources.”