Towards a healthier and more sustainable food system

The Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (RLI Raad voor de leefomgeving en infrastructuur) published their report ’Towards a healthier and more sustainable food system’ on April 3rd.

Background and request for advice

The Netherlands has a high-quality food production system characterised by extensive innovation, both within the food chain itself and indirectly in other sectors of the economy. There is a lively debate within society about our food and how it is produced. More and more consumers want to make conscious choices in favour of healthier and sustainably produced food. A healthier diet will have a positive impact on the costs of healthcare, while a more sustainable diet will benefit the natural and human environment.
The food landscape has changed drastically in the past decades. Agricultural and food production has undergone further intensification, industrialisation and globalisation due to increased trade, innovation, and greater prosperity. The balance of power within supply chains has shifted, and diets all over the world have changed to include more composite products and more meat, dairy, sugar and sugar-containing beverages. These developments affect the climate and the human environment. The food system – from production to distribution and consumption – accounts for a large share (estimated at 20 to 30%) of global greenhouse gas emissions, and is therefore a major contributor to climate change (UNEP, 2016). In addition, food production and consumption are associated with certain public health problems and negative effects on the quality of the human environment.
Adjustments to the food system are necessary to ensure a sufficient supply of healthy and sustainable food in the long term while reducing the environmental burden.
More information and downloads are available at the RLI website.

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