Funded by the European Commission (EC) LIFE+ programme, LiveWell for LIFE is a ground-breaking project that not only set out to show how low carbon diets can help achieve a reduction of at least 25% in greenhouse gas emissions from the EU food supply chain but also showed how these can be healthy, nutritious and affordable. The project also aimed to influence policies and practices to ease the adoption of low-carbon diets in the EU – and in particular in our pilot countries: France, Spain and Sweden – and ultimately, to put the issue of sustainable diets on the EU policy agenda.
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Strong evidence now exists of the need to shift diets towards reduced levels of meat-eating among high consuming countries like the UK to help address climate change, promote public health and help feed the world more fairly and humanely. But understanding how to achieve this dietary behaviour change has not yet received the attention it deserves. This report intends to stimulate engagement and action towards addressing this important question. Eating Better has undertaken a review of relevant consumption patterns, trends, and people’s attitudes and behaviours. We identify ten drivers that could provide opportunities for encouraging dietary shifts. We also highlight research and policy gaps and make recommendations.
Sustainable development has figured prominently on the international agenda for more than a quarter of a century. People talk earnestly of the environmental, social and economic dimensions of development. Yet we continue to build up the economic component, at considerable cost to the environmental one. We risk undermining social and economic gains by failing to appreciate our fundamental dependency on ecological systems. Social and economic sustainability are only possible with a healthy planet. Ecosystems sustain societies that create economies. It does not work any other way round. But although human beings are a product of the natural world, we have become the dominant force that shapes ecological and biophysical systems. In doing so, we are not only threatening our health, prosperity and well-being, but our very future. This tenth edition of the Living Planet Report® reveals the effects of the pressures we are placing on the planet. It explores the implications for society. And it underlines the importance of the choices we make and the steps we take to ensure this living planet can continue to sustain us all, now and for generations to come.
There is a growing realisation that ‘Western diets’ need to change. The rising problem of obesity in many parts of the world is well catalogued, with some suggesting that half the UK population will be obese by 2050 (if current trends continue). The strain will be felt not just on people’s waistlines, but also on the planet, on people working in the food system and on farm animal welfare. Attempts at nudging behaviours have had, at best, partial success. There has been a noticeable reluctance on the part of food companies and governments to ‘tell people what to eat’. The June 2014 meeting of the Business Forum looked at whether this needs to change – and whether stronger interventions are required, given the scale of the challenges facing humanity. Is it ethically acceptable for food businesses to try to influence people’s diets or is it unacceptable for them not to?
The UK food system today faces three major challenges: we need to ensure food security, domestically and globally; our production and consumption of food must be environmentally sustainable; and our food policy must promote public health. Only a socially just food system can meet these challenges, but considerations of fairness are largely peripheral to food policy debate, which instead tends to focus on economic and environmental issues. This report presents the findings of the Food Ethics Council’s Food and Fairness Inquiry, which was set up in order to remedy the relative neglect of social justice in public debate about food policy. It reveals the extent of social injustice in the food system within the UK and at global level, and demonstrates how this unfairness impedes progress towards sustainable food and farming. The problems are several and profound – but the evidence presented to the Inquiry also points the way forward, towards a sustainable, healthy, and fair food system. The report maps out this future trajectory for food policy, and identifies the respective responsibilities of UK government, businesses and civil society.
Western countries throw out nearly half of their food, not because it’s inedible — but because it doesn’t look appealing. Tristram Stuart delves into the shocking data of wasted food, calling for a more responsible use of global resources.
Building a resource-efficient and circular economy in Europe: We are extracting and using more resources than our planet can produce in a given time. Current consumption and production levels are not sustainable and risk weakening our planet’s ability to provide for us. We need to reshape our production and consumption systems to enable us to produce the same amount of output with less resource, to re‑use, recover and recycle more, and to reduce the amount of waste we generate.
Voters and tax payers have a strong interest in increasing the amount of material from households that is reused and therefore not sent to landfill or for incineration. In addition to the significant environmental benefits and social value reuse can create, there is a strong economic and business case for it too. We estimate there could be over £400 million of untapped value available each year to taxpayers, charities, businesses and consumers by increasing the amount we reuse
The recent rise of the commons and the sharing economy seems to suggest a growing recognition of the fact that our health, happiness, and security depend greatly on the planet and people around us. On the Commons highlights the many ways, new and old, that people connect and collaborate to advance the common good and develop greater economic autonomy in this new e-book
The report presents a global perspective on the impacts of industrial meat and dairy production, and illustrates its increasingly devastating impact on society and the environment. The way we produce and consume meat and dairy needs a radical rethink. The Meat Atlas aims to catalyse the debate over the need for better, safer and more sustainable food and farming and advocates clear individual and political solutions.
Decoupling human well-being from resource consumption is at the heart of the Interantional Resource Panel’s (IRP) mandate. It is also at the heart of the Green Economy Initiative of UNEP that has just produced an impressive report on the Green Economy (February 2011). The conceptual framework for decoupling and understanding of the instrumentalities for achieving it are still in an infant stage. The IRP plans to carry out a series of investigations on decoupling, each of which will result in a report. The reports will aim to support the Green Economy Initiative and also to stimulate appropriate policies and action at global, national and local levels. This first report is simply an attempt to scope the challenges. The report presents basic facts and figures on natural resource flows worldwide. Four country studies embedded in the report show that consumption of natural resources is still rising rapidly. Drawing on these data, the report attempts to outline the issues that now need to be addressed to decouple these material and energy flows from social and economic progress.