World's Dumbest Problem index

When measuring performance, one has to quantify the problem: the world’s dumbest problem index, or WDPi. Every country or region gets a score between 0 and 100, where higher is better. This index consists of three pillars:

  • The amount of food loss (FL)
  • Malnourishment (Mal)
  • Type of Loss (ToL)

Especially the latter needs a little explaining but let’s start at the top. Obviously we’re fighting food loss (and waste) so this one is a no-brainer. The second is malnourishment, which can be interpreted as the hunger-component. The larger the hunger problems in the area the lower the score. The third one is the type of loss: the environmental component. As some losses are more destructive for the climate than others, this is at least equally important as the amount of food loss. Food that is lost (for human consumption) but used as animal food is considered less harmful than food that ends up as landfill. A higher score here means that the waste streams are managed properly regarding the climate.

An important remark is that the WDPi is a work in progress. The (continuous) data collection is obviously the biggest challenge but when working together we can make a difference; which then be quantified with the WDPi (get it?). The WDPi looks as follows:

The three pillars FL, Mal and ToL are weighted by a, b and c respectively. The higher the weight, the more important the pillar is to be considered. For now we see the pillars as equally important (a = b = c = 1), so the WDPi is just an average of the three values. 

At this point a selection of the data from the FSI, described in this blog, is used. As not all data we need is available yet, as a compromise for the ‘Type of Loss’ pillar we are using the emissions data from the FSI. For about 70 countries the WDPi is calculated and plotted on a world map below.

It is immediately clear where the problems are the largest. Let’s see if we can ‘green-up’ the map a bit!