The cold food chain, a key ally for development policy

New Year, new resolutions! As the world’s biggest donor of the official development assistance (ODA), the European Union decided for the first time to dedicate a year to a global theme, “Development”.  All the institutions have committed to organise events and promote initiatives under the umbrella of the Latvian and the Luxembourgish presidencies.

Having a look at the current global environment, wouldn’t you agree the “European Year for Development” appears as a natural continuation of 2014, the “European Year against Food Waste”?

Food waste no more, thanks to more reliable cold chains

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 1/3 of food supposed to reach our plates is wasted; either spoiled or lost. In developing countries, food waste not only exacerbates food insecurity but has also negative climate impacts, as huge amounts of water, agricultural products and waters have been used in vain, very often putting stress on the environment.

So what’s the answer to this growing problem? In many cases food waste is caused by problems in storage and transport due to lack of adequate cold chain facilities. Can you imagine how difficult it must be for a remote village in Mali to preserve the food aid it has received from the World Food Programme when there are no facilities to store them? Or for a small producer in India to store his harvest from the wet season and keep it until the dry season puts stress on his supplies without appropriate refrigeration facilities?

While donors often focus on food donations, the lack of cold chain facilities, subsequently leads to a loss of their funds in the event food is spoiled. In 2015, we cannot afford more hungry people and more wasted funds. This is the reason investing in the deployment of cold chain infrastructure is key.

In the spirit of efficiency, investing in innovative and sustainable materials could prove the optimal solution: materials that are lightweight, versatile, energy efficient and recyclable. Does that sound familiar?

The cold chain can save lives

Another aspect of the cold chain that demonstrates its importance in developing countries, and developed ones for that matter, is the importance of refrigeration for health. With the headlines being dominated with health emergencies across the globe it is important to reminder that transport and storage are the cornerstone for prevention.

Vaccines, HIV tests and blood supplies degrade if exposed to high or extremely low temperature. In turn, the health of millions of people can be put at risk if these products are not properly administered. In addition, medical supplies represent an important budget both for NGOs and international organization. Why not invest in improved and sustainable cold chain mechanisms in order to magnify health programmes’ impact? It would definitely save funds and most importantly, many lives.

Polyurethanes at the service of development

Investment in innovative technologies is the cornerstone of a continuous cold chain from production to distribution and consumption.

Polyurethane rigid foam is widely used to keep food fresh at every step in the transport and storage stages. Thanks to its unique physical and thermal properties combined with extreme versatility, Polyurethane foam is an essential component in the maintenance of the cold chain.

Not to mention that having the lowest thermal conductivity of any of the large volume insulators enables Polyurethane to achieve increased energy efficiency.

For Europe, commitment to a “Year for Development” means commitment to improve the health and nutrition of millions of people across the world. Raising awareness on the role and the importance of investing in the cold chain could prove a catalyst for more efficient aid distribution.

Especially in environments stressed by climate change finding sustainable solutions is the key to delivering a food and healthcare-secure world. Polyurethanes versatility and sustainable properties can be part of the equation! Find out why here and engage with us on Twitter to share your stories!

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