Department of Management

A sustainable food system for the European Union

Research output: Book/anthology/dissertation/reportBookResearchpeer-review

  • Peter Jackson, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
  • Jeroen Candel, Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands
  • Anna Davies, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
  • Hugo de Vries, French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE), France
  • Cristiane Derani, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil
  • Verica Dragović-Uzelac, University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • Alf Håkon Hoel, University of Tromsø, Norway
  • Lotte Holm, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Piergiuseppe Morone, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
  • Marianne Penker, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
  • Marta Guadalupe Rivera-Ferre, University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia, Spain
  • Ruta Śpiewak, ?Institute of Rural and Agricultural Development of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
  • Katrien Termeer, Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands
  • John Thøgersen
  • Erik Mathijs, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
The EU food system faces a number of fundamental challenges that require system-wide change. Environmental, health and socio-economic issues are interconnected and do not exist in separate silos. Strong leadership is required to integrate actors across all parts of the food system, highlighting the need for better-coordinated governance. Coordination and adaptability are vital, including support and guidance for bottom-up activities, necessitating polycentric and adaptive governance.
Accepting collective responsibility is paramount, as it is unlikely that any single actor can achieve even modest steps towards sustainability, while local policy action has the power to provide potential seeds of transformative change.
Providing information is unlikely to create change unless combined with ‘harder’ measures such as taxation and legislation.
Agricultural contributions to greenhouse gas emissions and food waste are fundamental concerns that need to be addressed; animal products, particularly red meat, use unsustainable levels of input at the current level of production. Excessive meat consumption is also having a negative impact on public health. Alignment of environmental (food, energy and water) and health goals is therefore required across all sectors.
Meeting the global demand for food in 2050 will require significant dietary change as well as large reductions in food waste, as technology or yield increases are unlikely to meet demand alone. Evidence of ‘what works’ requires strengthening, including further research on the public understanding of science and consumer acceptance of new technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Place of publicationBerlin
PublisherSAPEA, Science Advice for Policy by European Academies
Number of pages219
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-9820301-7-3
Commissioning bodyEuropean Commission
Publication statusPublished - 2020
SeriesEvidence Review Report

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