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Recommended by the IIR / IIR document

The carbon footprint of the cold chain, 7th Informatory Note on Refrigeration and Food.

Author(s) : SARR J., DUPONT J. L., GUILPART J.

Type of article: Informatory note

Summary

According to IIR estimates, 12% of food produced globally in 2017 was lost due to an insufficient cold chain. A more extensive cold chain would limit the need to increase agricultural production to compensate for these losses and avoid the corresponding CO2 emissions. This raises the question of whether the additional CO2 emissions resulting from the implementation of a more extensive cold chain are not greater than the emissions avoided by reducing food losses due to a lack of refrigeration.
To answer this key question, the IIR has developed an innovative model to calculate CO2 emissions for each stage of the cold chain and for all countries in the world. This model allows to compare the CO2 emissions associated with the current global cold chain with those of an “improved” cold chain. The latter corresponds to a reasonable assumption in which the cold chain in all countries is brought to the same level of equipment and performance as that existing in developed countries. The following results are obtained:
- An improved global cold chain based on these principles would allow a reduction of almost 50% of the CO2 emissions of the current cold chain.
- This improved cold chain would also avoid 55% of the food losses attributable to the current cold chain.
 

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Informatory Note - The carbon footprint of the cold chain (English)

Pages: 15

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Note d'Information - L’empreinte carbone de la chaîne du froid (French)

Pages: 16

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Summary for policymakers - The carbon footprint of the cold chain (English)

Pages: 2

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Résumé pour les décideurs - L’empreinte carbone de la chaîne du froid (French)

Pages: 2

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Annex - The carbon footprint of the cold chain (English)

Pages: 54

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