Food lies at the heart of our lives. It is vital for our survival, and links us to our natural and social environment in a unique way. But our food system is unsustainable. How can we ensure future food security without treating people unfairly or leaving them behind?
Food systems have complex social, economic and ecological components, and radical transformation is needed to make them sustainable. This report from SAPEA lays out the science on how that transition can happen in an inclusive, just and timely way.
What the report says
The global demand for food will increase in the future. To meet this demand, it is not enough simply to increase productivity in a sustainable way. We also need to change from linear mass consumption to a more circular economy -- which will mean changing our norms, habits and routines.
The evidence shows that this kind of behaviour change needs to happen collectively, not just individually. So we need joined-up governance at local, national and international levels.
Food systems also contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. This can be addressed by reducing waste or directing it back into the supply chain.
A mix of different measures will be most effective. The evidence shows that taxation is one of the most effective ways to modify behaviour. Accreditation and labelling schemes can also have an impact.
Meanwhile, reform of European agriculture and fisheries policies offer great opportunities to develop resilience and sustainability.
But there is not yet enough evidence to know for sure exactly what works in practice, so the steps we take should be carefully evaluated, and trade-offs anticipated.
Jackson, P., Rivera Ferre, M.G., Candel, J., Davies A., Derani C., de Vries H., Dragović-Uzelac V., Håkon Hoel A., Holm L., Mathijs E., Morone P., Penker M., Śpiewak R., Termeer K., Thøgersen J. (2021). Food as a commodity, human right or common good.Nat Food . 2021
The first in a series of webinars covers changes of consumers’ attitudes towards food as a public good instead of as a commodity. It confronts the conclusions of the SAPEA report with the challenges and changes observed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The EU's Farm2Fork strategy
This webinar will bring together 30 organisations participating in the work of the EU Food Policy Coalition with Dr Jeroen Candel, a member of the working group which wrote the SAPEA evidence review report. Together, they will discuss how closely the EU's Farm2Fork Strategy follows the scientific evidence, and which elements and approaches will be best to achieve food systems transformation.
Food policy at a time of crisis: what should the future look like?
This webinar will bring together experts who will share their vision for radical system change and set out their views on the workable policies that are needed to achieve it. The audience will be able to pose questions and contribute to the debate.
Towards a sustainable food system: the EU's role in the global transition
A high-level expert panel of the UN's Committee on Food Security has recently delivered evidence-based policy advice on how to transition to a more sustainable food system. The conclusions reached and the recommendations provided by the UN an by the Science Advice Mechanism to the European Commission are unequivocal: a transformation of our food system is necessary, and there is a broad scientific consensus on how to achieve this. Through a moderated discussion between key speakers from the UN and the SAM, this webinar will explore the key recommendations made to achieve a more sustainable food system, and discuss the particular role of the EU in this global transition.
Framings of food and implications for policy, food security and sustainability in Europe
SAPEA hosted a mini-symposium at the International Conference on Global Food Security, on Framings of food and implications for policy, food security and sustainability in Europe on 4 December 2020.
The special role of chefs in a sustainable food system
In conjunction with the Chefs’ Manifesto, part of the SDG2 Advocacy Hub, we hosted a special briefing on how chefs in the EU and globally can contribute to a sustainable food system.
Alternative proteins, consumers and sustainability in Europe: Where next?
The event will discuss weather promoting a shift towards diets with fewer conventional animal products by implementing new food technologies.
Food Systems Summit Dialogue
Professor John Thøgersen, a member of the SAPEA working group, presented some of the key findings from the Report on the 25th February. This Dialogue brings together stakeholders from the fields of science, food chain, policy and civil society, with a special focus on the institutions and the non-state actors operating in Brussels and impacting across Europe.
Nordic Nutrition Recommendations 2022
Professor Peter Jackson, a chair of the SAPEA working group, presented the key findings of the SAPEA report.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement 737432. The information and opinions on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Commission. The SAPEA Consortium is not responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained in this website by anyone, including European Union institutions and bodies or any person acting on their behalf.
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