A Sustainable Food System for Europe
14 April 2020
A new report from SAPEA lays out the social science evidence on how a transition in our food systems can happen in an inclusive, just and timely way. The SAPEA report is accompanied by a systematic review on the food policy ecosystem, conducted by Cardiff University and overseen by Academia Europaea.
The SAPEA Evidence Review Report A sustainable food system for the European Union provides an evidence base for the Scientific Opinion of the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors. It was requested by the European College of Commissioners and written by a multidisciplinary group of leading scientists, nominated by academies across Europe.
The Scientific Advisors also requested a systematic review, with the aim of examining the changing food policy ecosystem within Europe. It was conducted by specialists at Cardiff University and is published as part of the overall set of evidence. The review team of methodologists and a subject expert was supported by an Advisory Panel, led by Professors Terry Marsden, Director of the Sustainable Places Research Institute at Cardiff, and Roberta Sonnino, Director of the Research Centre for Urban and Regional Food Systems.
Professor Peter Jackson MAE, the Chair of the Working Group that wrote the Evidence Review Report, said:
“Food is an incredibly complex system, with social, economic and ecological components. Yet, it contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and plays a key role in driving climate change. The food system is responsible for around a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates the annual financial cost of wasted food to be €900 billion in economic costs and an additional €800 billion in social costs. That’s why “business as usual” is no longer an option. Our report doesn’t stop at highlighting the problems, which are now widely recognised. It also provides a range of evidence-based examples about how the transition to a sustainable food system can happen.”
Professor Terry Marsden, who led the Advisory Panel for the systematic review, said:
“The reviews completed are a land-mark state-of-the-art contribution concerning the scientific work completed on European Sustainable food systems. As such they will be a timely and invaluable source of reliable evidence for the European Commission in its continuing work on policy development in this critical field.”
The SAPEA report informs the Scientific Opinion from the European Commission’s Group of Advisors, which is also published. The work will inform the Commission’s new ‘Farm to Fork strategy’ for a sustainable food system.