A global campaign designed to help retailers and consumers cut down on food waste has been launched by the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organisation and civil society partners.

The ‘Think. Eat. Save. Reduce Your Footprint’ campaign, which is also being sponsored by the UN Environment Programme, comes in response to new figures that show half of the world’s food production is being wasted.

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FAO figures suggest waste accounts for closer to one third of all food produced, but this still means 1.3bn tonnes of food is either lost or wasted annually.

Alongside the UN agencies is Tristram Stuart and his ‘Feeding the 5,000’ campaign, plus the UK-based Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

The partners have launched a website to provide multilingual advice to retailers and consumers on how to cut down on waste.

“In a world of seven billion people, set to grow to nine billion by 2050, wasting food makes no sense – economically, environmentally and ethically,” said UN under-secretary-general and UNEP executive director, Achim Steiner.

Janez Potocnik, European commissioner for the environment, said: “In the EU we have set ourselves a target to halve edible food waste by 2020 and to virtually eliminate landfilling by 2020. The Commission is planning to present ideas next year on the sustainability of the food system which will have a strong focus on food waste.”