New index launched to measure and tackle food waste, why women find it harder to climb the corporate ladder, and is biodiversity a question of reorganisation rather than decline? Our round-up of provoking thoughts, penetrating insights and digital curiosities….

UN launches index to tackle food waste

Around 14% of all food produced is lost or wasted before getting to retailers, which must be addressed as more than 820 million people in the world go hungry every day, the United Nations (UN) said. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has produced a new Food Loss Index which can help measure at what point food is wasted in the supply chain, and highlight what can be done. Fresh fruit and vegetables are more likely to be thrown away in low income countries due to poor storage facilities, while higher income companies are more likely to waste food during storage due to technical breakdowns or overstocking.

Read more: Cracking convenience: Is technology the answer to the sustainability challenge?

Corporate ladder has broken bottom rung

Women trying to climb the corporate ladder run into obstacles right from the start, according to a new study. McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace report said that women were still under-represented at every level, and the first step on the ladder – being promoted to manager – is the biggest challenge. There are signs that the glass ceiling is cracking, but companies need to have the right processes in place to prevent bias in hiring and promotions, and focus their efforts earlier in the talent pipeline, it said.

Read more: The Lagarde effect: Identifying true gender diversity in business

Preserving forests more important than planting new trees

Preserving mature forests is more important than planting new trees in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, Yale 360 Environment reports. Environmental scientist William Moomaw said in an interview with the publication that policy changes are needed to leave existing forests intact to store carbon, rather than following a trend in the US where they are being converted to wood pellets that can be burned to produce electricity.

Read more: Financing brown to green: Guidelines for transition bonds

Marine biodiversity changing faster than on land

Ecosystems are changing faster in the oceans than on land, and nearly a third of all species are being replaced by new ones every decade, according to a new study published in Science. The biodiversity crisis may be more about large-scale reorganisation than decline, it said, adding that the findings raise questions about species homogenisation and adaptability.

Read more: Biodiversity crisis: Species extinction and what it means for investors

Robots could fix broken windfarms

Robots could be used to carry out repairs on wind farms, meaning technicians don’t need to risk climbing down turbines when something needs fixing, the BBC reports. Fully autonomous robots are being developed by the Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets Hub – a multi-million pounds programme funded by the UK government.

Read more: Robots might make human workers more efficient, not replace them