The world is currently facing a more complex global challenge. An issue can not be solved without overcoming another issue. Moreover, we are living in a dynamic era where new challenges occur in a short period. For an instance, the rapid development of technology has contributed to climate change. The occurring environmental problems can not be neglected as they give a direct impact on society and have created more complexities to the existing social issues.
The need to understand the occurring challenges that affect society has urged the government to develop an innovative solution. In facing this complex issue, an interdisciplinary and collective response is needed as a transformative approach to address the existing social challenges. Collaboration within the response is also important to generate a sustainable innovation to face social challenges.
Other than that, food waste is currently one of the main global challenges. Food and Agriculture Organization (2020) defines food waste as a reduction in the quantity or quality of food due to the decisions and actions taken by food producers, sellers, and consumers. On the other hand, the European Union (2020) delivers that food waste is a biodegradable waste coming from the household kitchen, restaurant, catering, and retail industries. In short, food waste is cooked food that is discarded for some unknown reason. Usually, food waste occurs in the retail industries and household kitchens as a result of consumers’ habits and behavior of not finishing their food.
Aside from food waste, there is also food loss. Food loss occurs during the production process along the food supply chain that includes the pre-harvest stage, harvest stage, post-harvest stage, and distribution stage. Food items such as vegetables, fruits, or other types of raw food are wasted as they can not be processed into food. This is due to the low quality of the harvest as well as storage, treatment, and packaging problems. Hence, the raw food is not adequately decent to be processed and subsequently, they are discarded by the producers.
The high number of food waste generated by each individual, each day, has made food waste management to be a crucial action that needs to be done. The United Nations reported that around 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted globally, while at the same time, 2 billion people are suffering from hunger or malnutrition. Furthermore, another research suggests that if a quarter of the food waste and loss are saved, around 870 million people are able to eat.
Another research found that food waste and loss have indirectly affected the environment, such as erosion, deforestation, water, and air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions that occur during the production process, storing and transporting of food, as well as the waste management (Mourad, 2016). In addition, it is shown that around 96% of food waste and loss ended up in waste disposal. When food waste is decomposed, it produces methane gas which possibly generates greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. It is shown that food waste significantly contributes to climate change where 8% of the total emission comes from the carbon footprint of the food waste. Therefore, food waste management is crucial to reach environmental sustainability as food waste does not solely impact national or global food security. This issue is also considered critical among the government, business, non-governmental organizations, academics, and the general public (Schanez, Dobernig, Gozet, 2018).
Thus, a transformative approach by raising awareness and initiating sustainable steps is needed to promote an innovative solution to diminish food loss and food waste which can contribute to the achievement of one of the goals within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Responsible Consumption and Production.
Therefore, in July 2021, UNPAR is hosting the International Student Conference on Global Citizenship with the theme “Food Loss and Food Waste” which include lectures and workshops on the following topics: The Making of Eco-Enzyme, Urban Farming dan Biodigester, Design Thinking, Content Creator, Public Speaking, Make Your Own Learning Space Comfortable, and other topics related to Food Loss and Food Wood Waste.
It is expected that ISC 2021 will prepare the younger generation, the successor of the civilization, to join hands together regardless of race, religion or ethnic background in overcoming the challenges of the future as true global citizens.