Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time and catering is one of the big contributors. They have significant effects on people’s health, both direct and indirect. According to the World Health Organization. Climate change could cause about 250,000 additional deaths per year between 2030 and 2050, due to malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress.
Some examples of direct effects are the increase in heat waves, which can cause heat stroke, dehydration, and cardiovascular problems. Vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue and yellow fever, which are most prevalent in favorable climatic conditions; and respiratory infections, which are aggravated by air pollution and increased pollen.
Climate change, nutrition and consequences on the well-being of individuals
Some examples of indirect effects are water and food scarcity, which can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, and conflict; migratory movements, which can cause overcrowding, social tensions and violence; and the psychological impact, which can generate stress, anxiety and depression. To address these issues, mitigation and adaptation measures need to be taken, involving all sectors of society.
Catering is a sector that contributes significantly to climate change, but it can also be part of the solution
According to the 2022 IPCC report, climate change has worse-than-expected effects, with negative impacts on trees, corals, biodiversity, food security and conflict. To limit global warming to 1.5°C, as required by the Paris Agreement, it is necessary to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including those from food production and consumption.
Catering can reduce its emissions by adopting different strategies, such as:
– Choose local, seasonal, and low environmental impact ingredients, favoring plant products over animal ones- Reduce food waste throughout the supply chain, from field to fork- Improve the energy efficiency of plants and equipment, using renewable sources and reducing water consumption- Raise awareness among customers and staff on the benefits of a healthy and sustainable diet for health and the climate
Catering can also adapt to climate change, taking advantage of opportunities offered by new markets and new consumer needs
And in addition, it can:
– Offer varied and innovative menus, which enhance cultural and gastronomic diversity- Develop home delivery or takeaway services, which reduce travel and emissions of its customers and consumers- Collaborate with local institutions and civil society organizations to promote community resilience and solidarity between producers and consumers. Urge contracting stations to make sustainable tenders both on the technical side that economic- Start a path of reduction of supply chains and packaging- Distribute only ultrafiltered mains water using dispensing systems on tap!
Climate change, nutrition and impacts on human health
Catering therefore has a key role in combating climate change and guaranteeing the right to food for all. With a strategic and responsible vision, it can turn challenges into opportunities and contribute to a greener and fairer future.
But we, as consumers, are also involved in the choices, our role is increasingly fundamental.
If you want to be an actor of change, contribute with your 5×1000 to the Association for Social Promotion PIU’ INFORMA.