Food systems alone could account for up to 37% of global GHG emissions.
Engaging in the climate battle, cities are leading the way in adopting integrated policies and have become key players in meeting national climate goals. While decarbonizing agricultural production is critical, innovative municipal policy within city bounds also plays an important role in reducing emissions - from circular waste management to shifting dietary patterns.
Beyond climate, ambitious low carbon policies are needed to deliver on the other two pillars of the Triple H approach. CityFood indeed aims to translate the One Health concept into practice, balancing and optimizing the health of people, nature and our planet.
One third of global food production goes to waste, and studies suggest that 8-10% of global GHG emissions are associated with food that is not consumed. Not only is food waste reduction essential to mitigating climate change, but it can also provide multi-faceted benefits for both people and the planet.
- ICLEI’s Circular Food Systems Handbook provides local governments with concrete tools to facilitate the transition to circular food systems, from stakeholder engagement to designing effective policies.
- ICLEI participates in ZeroW, an EU-funded project that aims to leverage technological innovation to fight against food loss and waste along nine real-life food chains.
- ICLEI participates in CHORIZO, an EU-funded project that aims to change social norms influencing consumer behavior and food waste generation.
- Through the Circle Lab for Cities (CL4C) program, ICLEI offers a hands-on, cost-effective process for local governments and stakeholders to boost their efforts toward a circular economy. Through the program, cities can learn about the circular economy and what it can do for their city, explore their city’s data to identify and match their climate challenges with the right circular solution, and act to advance their transition to a circular economy in priority sectors.
- As part of the Secretariat of the Urban Food Systems Coalition, together with GAIN and FAO, ICLEI leads the identification and support of the expansion of opportunities for circular development for intermediary cities in Latin America.
- ICLEI, as part of the Belmont Forum funded international team of researchers and stakeholders, developed a framework and tools to assess changes in food-water-energy nexus (FWEN), their related trade-offs and the building of innovative capabilities in cities for developing innovative solutions to the food, water and energy nexus and manage green and blue infrastructure at the urban level.
- ICLEI’s recent Manifesto for establishing Minimum Standards for Public Canteens (developed as part of the EU Food Policy Coalition) calls for more ambitious food waste prevention measures, flexible meal planning and better donation systems in public catering.
- Together with the World Union of Wholesale Markets, ICLEI is exploring solutions to reduce food loss and waste along fresh food supply chains and to improve food market infrastructure and logistics.
Food systems and local action are at the heart of the global climate emergency. City mayors and citizens need to be empowered to play a role in the global climate agenda if we want to stay below 1.5 degrees warming. Local and regional governments are indeed already pioneering food policies and strategies as key tools in the fight against climate change.
- ICLEI is a partner of the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration launched at COP26. The Glasgow Declaration calls for multi-level governance and integrated policies for food and climate, and for food policies to be included into the revisions of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
- ICLEI closely collaborates with IPES Food to demonstrate the importance of multi-level governance for food systems in the fight against climate change.
- ICLEI is a partner of the Barcelona Challenge for Good Food and Climate, which calls cities to engage in the transformation of their food systems in order to tackle the climate emergency.
- In its capacity as UNFCCC focal point for Local Governments and Municipal Administrations, ICLEI has continuously brought the voice of city stakeholders at climate conferences. At COP27 more specifically, CityFood will continue to bridge conversations on food and climate throughout events and initiatives.
Major food-related emissions coming from cities stem from food supply chain activities, including retail, transport, consumption, fuel production, waste management, industrial processes and packaging. A tailored approach is needed to address food-related GHG emissions along the entire value chain. But to do that, cities need to agree on common indicators to measure GHG emissions stemming from the food sector.
- ICLEI’s USA Office developed the ClearPath tool, an online software platform that allows cities to monitor carbon emissions from the food sector using a consumption-based emissions tracking system. More particularly, ICLEI is exploring tools to measure GHG emissions related to food consumption in urban contexts - which is key to integrating food consumption and diets in National Determined Contributions (NDCs).
- Reshaping food distribution infrastructure is an opportunity to promote low-carbon freight. ICLEI’s EcoLogistics program helps cities build strategies and policies to promote low-carbon and more sustainable urban freight.
- ICLEI also aims to look into the role of renewable based cooling and heating infrastructure in fostering low carbon food supply chains.