Limiting food waste via grassroots initiatives as a potential for climate change mitigation: a systematic review

Mariam Nikravech, Valerie Kwan, Karin Dobernig, Angelika Wilhelm-Rechmann, Nina Langen

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


An estimated 30 to 50 % of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted each year. These global food loss and waste (FLW) annually generate 4.4 Gt CO2-eq, or about 8 % of total anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and thus present a still underestimated driver of climate change. To date, little is known about grassroots initiatives dedicated to reducing and preventing FLW and their actual potential to prevent FLW and thus contribution to mitigate GHG emissions. This paper presents a systematic review that examined the peer-reviewed evidence on grassroots initiatives' potential to limit food waste and GHG emissions. We found 15 relevant studies which represent a small but recent and growing interest in the topic. The findings of the studies are mostly of a qualitative nature, exploring the initiatives' organizational structure, goals and available resources. This systematic review highlights a pressing need for further research and impact measurement to better assess the role of grassroots initiatives in FLW reduction and climate change mitigation. It raises main directions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 405004 Sustainable agriculture

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