Analysis of COP28 by Sahar Azarkamand, ARECO Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change at ESCI-UPF
Sahar Azarkamand, postdoctoral researcher at the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change at ESCI-UPF and ARECO Postdoctoral Research Fellow, has attended the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference or UNFCCC Conference of the Parties, better known as COP28, participating in different debates, conferences and round tables related to the food system.
Food systems are responsible for 23-42% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (IPCC, 2022). According to FAO data from 2023, in Spain 27% of greenhouse gas emissions from post-agricultural production, equivalent to 5,030.50 tCO2 Equiv. come from packaging and retail.
COP28 put the climate impact of the food system on the agenda and a new declaration ‘COP28 UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action.’ signed by 158 nations pledging to bring down emissions caused by the food system. More than $3.1 billion has been mobilized by the global community to support the food-climate agenda.
It is the first COP where the distribution in the food system has been taken into account as an integral part of efforts to combat climate change. Heads of state and governments recognized the profound potential of agriculture and food systems to drive powerful and innovative responses to climate change and to unlock shared prosperity for all.
In this regard, the outcome of the first global stocktake, Article 63, Part B, was mentioned, focusing on attaining climate-resilient food and agricultural production, supply, and distribution of food, as well as increasing sustainable and regenerative production and ensuring equitable access to adequate food and nutrition for all.
Packaging is recognized as an important component of the food system. Areco, by introducing Reusable Transport Packaging (RTP) with a lower carbon footprint (88%) than single-use cardboard boxes (BALA and FULLANA, 2017), and transitioning from cardboard boxes to RPC crates throughout the supply chain, has the great potential to reduce carbon footprint and can contribute to achieving COP28 goals.
BALA, A., and FULLANA, P., 2017, Análisis comparado de diferentes opcines de distribución de frutas y verduras en españa basado en el ACV, Cátedra UNESCO de Ciclo de Vida y Cambio Climático, ECSI-UPF.https://areco.org.es/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Memoria_final_Estudio_ACV_ARECO.pdf
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 2023, Emissions from pre and post agricultural production, https://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/GPP
IPCC et al., 2022, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA (2022), 10.1017/9781009157926