Promoting sustainability in food consumption - Developing an integrated food policy and creating fair food environments. Executive summary and synthesis report
How we eat has a major impact on ourindividual health status, our quality of life and our well-being. Many of the foods we eat have a major social, environmental, climate and animal welfare footprint. This expertise defines policies to promote sustainability in food consumption as policies that integrate all four target dimensions: human health, social aspects, the natural environment (including climate) and animal welfare (Fig. ES-1). Achieving greater sustainability in food consumption poses great challenges. The necessary progress can only be achieved with a comprehensive transformation of today’s food system. The question of what constitutes greater sustainability in food consumption is more difficult to answer than often assumed by the public. As consumers, we are at the same time confronted with food environments that run counter to more sustainable shopping and eating habits. In view of this, the WBAE recommends that consumers should be given much more support in achieving greater sustainability in food consumption through the design of appropriate food environments. To this end, it is first of all necessary to reduce factors in today's prevailing food environments that hamper sustainability in food consumption (e.g. large portion sizes and high advertising expenditure on unhealthy foods). Secondly, it is important to offer food choices that are more health-promoting and have greater social, environmental and animal-welfare compatibility to make it easier to identify more sustainable options, to facilitate access to information and to set price incentives that entice consumers to opt for the more sustainable choice. The WBAE describes such food and eating environments as fair, because and insofar as they are (1) attuned to our human perception, decision-making possibilities and behaviour; and (2) are more health-promoting and have greater social, ecological and animal-welfare compatibility and thus contribute to sustaining the livelihoods of the world's current and future generations. Existing conditions and environments in Germany are not very conducive to sustainability, too much responsibility is shifted to the individual and many available support instruments are notused. This expertise shows that Germany is lagging behind other European countries in this area. Emphasising the importance of appropriate food environments thus implies that a national policy for promoting sustainability in food consumption should use significantly more and deeper interventions, such as incentive taxes. In this expert opinion, the WBAE provides recommendations for a number of significant steps towards fair food environments. One main approach is to provide high-quality and free school and preschool meals...
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