The Hidden Connection Between Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change

Hunger, food security, climate emissions and water shortages are anything but foolish topics. The way we systematically waste food in the face of these challenges, however, is one of humankind's unintended but most foolish practices. We wrote this book to call attention to the extraordinary social and environmental opportunities created by wasting less food. We are optimistic that real solutions to feeding the world and preserving its resources can be unlocked in the context of mitigating climate change.

"Food Foolish is an excellent analysis which reinforces my view that the extraordinary amount of food wasted, whether due to lack of refrigeration, poor crop storage and infrastructure, weather variability and climate change, or affluence, is a global problem of immense proportions. Yet it is largely solvable, and the book describes solutions which can help alleviate global hunger and mitigate the impacts of environmental degradation and climate change."

- Dan Glickman
United States Secretary of Agriculture


by Philippe Cousteau and Barton Seaver

Many in the world will take food for granted, while at the same time more than 800 million people go hungry every day. While avoiding food waste will go a long way toward fighting hunger, the environmental benefits are equally important.

Consider water scarcity, widely considered on of the largest...

Introduction: Why Should We Care?

One-third or more of the food we produce each year is never eaten.

More than 1 billion metric tons of food is lost or wasted, never making it from the farm to our fork. Often in developing countries it decays in fields before harvest or spoils while being transported. Some is lost in retail markets before consumers can...

A Note to the Reader

Carrier, a unit of United Technologies, is a world leader in cold chain technologies for marine containers, road transport and supermarket display cases. On any given day, our technologies cool and preserve $6 billion in perishable foods on the open seas alone.

This long history of transporting, storing and preserving perishables...

Table Of Contents

Introduction: Why We Should Care
Chapter 1: The Anatomy of Hunger
Chapter 2: Why Are We Still Hungry?
Chapter 3: The Competition for Land
Chapter 4: Enter the Cold Chain
Chapter 5: A Mountain of Wasted Food
Chapter 6: Food Waste and Climate Change
Chapter 7: Wasted Food, Wasted Water
Chapter 8: Pretty Soon It's Real Money
Chapter 9: Food Security is National Security
Chapter 10: Reducing Food Waste: The Low-Hanging Fruit
Chapter 11: Urbanization: Food for the City
Chapter 12: Other Strategies to Feed the World
Chapter 13: Food Waste and Public Policy
Chapter 14: If Food Waste Could Speak

John M. Mandyck

John M. Mandyck

John is the former Chief Sustainability Officer for United Technologies Corporation. John is the founding chair of the Corporate Advisory Board of the World Green Building Council, and is a member of the Corporate Council at the Harvard University Center for Health and the Global Environment.

Eric B. Schultz

Eric B. Schultz

Eric is the former chairman and CEO of Sensitech, an Inc. 500 company specializing in global cold chain monitoring and visibility, and now a part of United Technologies. Eric serves as a venture partner with Ascent Venture Partners in Boston. He is author of "Weathermakers to the World", the story of Willis Carrier and the rise of modern air conditioning.


Wasting Away: How Cutting Down Food Waste Can Do So Much More Than Feed the World’s Hungry

Winter 2018 – Vision

Food waste has troubling implications that go well beyond world hunger—from the squandering of increasingly scarce land resources to the generation of greenhouse gases. A change in approach is long overdue.


Momentum grows to tackle $1 trillion worth of food wasted each year

March 15, 2017 – Devex

Hundreds of millions of people worldwide continue to suffer from chronic undernourishment, yet estimates suggest that one-third of all food produced goes to waste.

Now Entering the Age of Food Efficiency

2017 – Food Tank

Food Tank recently spoke with Jon Shaw, Director of Sustainability & Communications for Carrier Transicold & Refrigeration Systems, to better understand the role of refrigeration in preventing food waste, hunger, and the impact of climate change while also increasing food quality, food safety, and helping preserve food security.


Urban recovery and redistribution of safe and nutritious food for human consumption

February 8, 2016 -

UN Food & Agriculture Organization Highlights Food Foolish Book

A new paradigm for food efficiency

January 28, 2016 - Eco-Business

Food waste not only exacerbates global hunger, it also contributes to climate change and water scarcity.

Food Foolish Means Wasted Energy

January 27, 2016 - Yale Climate Connections

You might not think that eliminating food waste would be an important part of the fight against climate change, but in fact, the two issues are closely connected.

Understanding food waste, hunger, and climate change with John Mandyck

January 26, 2016 - foodtank

Food Tank had the opportunity to speak with John Mandyck about his new book, the connections between climate change, food waste, and hunger, and the role of the cold chain.

Commentary: Rep. Pingree joins vital effort to combat food waste, climate damage

January 21, 2016 - Portland Press Herald

Her legislation recognizes the world can throw away less, feed more and have a big impact on the planet.

Food waste: Fixing a foolish problem

January 19, 2016 - Eco-Business

If the world currently produces enough food to feed10 billion people, why are almost a billion indviduals still hungry? A recently published book, Food Foolish, explains why food waste is to blame for this problem and how it also contributes to worsening climate change, conflict, and water stress.


Has Society Become Too "Food Foolish"?

December 15, 2015 - WNPR

Did you know that roughly one-third of the food we produce each year is either lost or wasted?

Living on Earth: John Mandyck presentation at UMass Boston

November 30, 2015

Living on Earth and the School for the Environment at Umass Boston present John Mandyck's presentation on Food and Climate Resilience. October 20, 2015 in the UMass Boston Integrated Science Complex.

'Food Foolish' Author Urges All To Waste Less

November 25, 2015 - Hartford Courant

With the Thanksgiving holiday, life is about stuffed grocery bags, stovetops and ovens crammed with enough food to feed a small army and leftovers that by Monday will likely be headed from the refrigerator to the garbage pail. And that is so bad in so many ways, according to John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer for United Technologies, who underscores the environmental, social and economic implications of wasting food in a new book, co-authored with Eric Schultz, titled "Food Foolish."

Cold fact is that transporting food can become less harmful

November 8, 2015 - Portland Press Herald

Changes in technology hold the promise of reducing energy use, food waste and hunger.

Meet John Mandyck: Refrigeration specialist aims at foolishness of food waste

October 11, 2015 - Portland Press Herald

The chief sustainability officer for United Technologies takes on world hunger and connects it to climate change.

California city orders restaurants to use disposable plates, cups

October 8, 2015 - Waste Dive

A concerning issue of this ordinance is the amount of waste that disposable plates, cups, and flatware could create for restaurants, despite efforts that are made to compost and recycle them.

Food Waste Isn't Just A First World Problem

September 29, 2015 - Food & Wine Magazine

The old cliché is that you shouldn’t waste your food because hungry people in some far-off country would love to have it. Turns out those far-off countries have food-wasting problems of their own.

Even Poor Countries End Up Wasting Tons Of Food

September 28, 2015 - NPR

The fact that a huge amount of food is wasted each year will be no surprise to anybody in the West. What might come as a surprise is that a large percentage of global food waste occurs in developing countries — primarily because of poor infrastructure and dysfunctional distribution networks.

FCP Book Club Discussion: Food Foolish: The Hidden Connection Between Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change

September 18, 2015 - Food Culinary Professionals

Join us for our "Food for Thought" book club discussion.

For climate's sake, let's cut food waste!

September 17, 2015 - The Ecologist

At least a third of the food the world grows each year goes to waste, writes John Mandyck, most of it in fields, transport and storage.

Carrier Transicold supports Foodshare outreach

September 14, 2015 - Hartford Business Journal

In support of Foodshare's goal of creating a community in which everyone receives all the food they need, Carrier Transicold announced that it will contribute a Supra truck refrigeration unit for one of the organization's mobile Foodshare trucks.

Why the Concept of ‘Negawatts’ Should Apply to Wasted Food

August 28, 2015 - Smart Indian Agriculture

We produce enough today to feed ten billion people, that is more than the current population of 7.3 billion. Yet 800 million people go hungry always and about two billion people, many of them under the age of five, are malnourished.

Carrier donates cold truck to food bank

August 25, 2015 - MassLive

Carrier Transicold today announced that it will contribute a Supra truck refrigeration unit to be used on one of the Foodshare's Mobile Foodshare trucks.

Carrier Transicold Announces Contribution Of A Truck Refrigeration Unit To Support Foodshare Outreach

August 25, 2015 -

Helping Foodshare to deliver on its goal of creating a community in which everyone receives all the food they need, Carrier Transicold today announced that it will contribute a Supra® truck refrigeration unit to be used on one of the organization's Mobile Foodshare trucks.

United Technologies Execs Tackle Food Waste Problem

August 5, 2015 - Truckinginfo

One-third of all food produced goes to waste. If it weren't, it's possible that nobody would go hungry.

Cold Supply Chain Technology Leader Promotes New Environmental Publication with Profits to Charity

July 31, 2015 - Handy Shipping Guide

Stunning Facts Behind the Obscenity of Wasted Food Revealed in Climate Change Book

John Mandyck, Chief Sustainability Officer at UTC Building & Industrial Systems, Discusses His New Book ‘Food Foolish’

July 17, 2015 - ShareRadio

How cutting food waste could help the climate

July 16, 2015 -

The low hanging fruit in tackling climate change is literally rotting. The planet is producing a third more food that it consumes, stoking global warming as forests give way to crops and freight grows.

Technology the solution to climate change

June 24, 2015 - Global Cold Chain News

We are in the midst of a global urban migration. For the first time in history, more people are living in cities than in rural areas. It is a force that is changing the landscape of our planet and presents a global energy challenge.

Green buildings offer sustainable benefits

June 23, 2015 - South China Morning Post

By 2050, we are projected to add another 2 billion people to our planet. This represents a significant opportunity – and responsibility – to feed a growing planet by addressing a problem with human and environmental impacts: food waste.

Dear UN, put food waste on a diet

June 23, 2015 - South China Morning Post

To The United Nations: My name is Food Waste. I noticed that the deadline recently passed for countries to submit national climate action plans for discussion at the Paris climate summit this December.

Green Buildings: Why They Aren’t Just About Energy Consumption

May 22, 2015 - Economic Journal Insight

Maybe you are not to blame for being less productive or absent-minded at work. It could actually be the building and the office environment that is the root of the problem.

Feeding the 9 billion: How technology can reduce food waste

April 30, 2015 -

By 2050, we are projected to add another two billion people to our planet. This represents a significant opportunity - and responsibility - to feed a growing planet by addressing a problem with human and environmental impacts: food waste.

Food Waste & Climate Change

April 8, 2015 - Yale Climate Connections

If you just take the CO2 in the food that we waste, it represents 3.3 billion metric tons of CO2. If food waste were a country by itself, it would be the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

UTC Building & Industrial Systems Advocates Value of Sustainable Urbanization

March 25, 2015 - China Daily

UTC Building & Industrial Systems, alongside the Chinese Society for Urban Studies, China Green Building Council and Eco-City Research Committee of China, participated in a dialogue about the environmental and economic value of green building at this year’s International Conference on Green and Energy-Efficient Building & New Technologies and Products Expo (IGEBC).

How Reducing Food Waste Could Ease Climate Change

March 10, 2015 - National Geographic

More than a third of all of the food that's produced on our planet never reaches a table. It's either spoiled in transit or thrown out by consumers in wealthier countries, who typically buy too much and toss the excess. This works out to roughly 1.3 billion tons of food, worth nearly $1 trillion at retail prices.

The Elevator Speech D.C. Needs to Hear

February 23, 2015 - The Hill

Millions of Americans don’t realize that the elevators and escalators they use consume five times the energy Washington, D.C. uses every year.

Keeping Foods and the Climate Cool

February 20, 2015 - Living on Earth

A third of the world’s food never gets to the table but rather spoils in transit — food that could feed more than the 870 million people on Earth who don't get enough to eat.

Ways You Can Reduce Food Waste

Ways Businesses Can Reduce Food Waste