Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Issues

Food is a nodal point for multiple interconnected issues and concerns. The categories below highlight a few of the most critical, including food security and nutrition, water, governance and policy, and health issues.

2 October 2019

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published a special report reviewing the impacts of climate change on the oceans and cryosphere (ice gaps, glaciers and frozen ground), incorporating evidence that has been published since the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report and Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. It finds that climate change has shrunk ice sheets, glaciers and sea ice as well as heated permafrost (ground that normally remains frozen all year).

Image: Max Pixel, Lamb Rosemary Eat Lamb Chop, CC0 Public Domain
2 October 2019

FCRN member Anna Birgitte Milford of the NIBIO (Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research) has co-authored this paper, which studies the impact of various variables on meat total meat and ruminant meat consumption levels (both total and ruminant) in 137 countries. The paper assesses factors which had previously not been used together in similar analyses, including economic, cultural and natural factors (e.g. land availability and climate).

Image: USDA NRCS Montana, Soil moisture meter is used to measure soil moisture, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain
2 October 2019

FCRN member Susanne Freidberg of Dartmouth College has written this paper about the difficulties that companies such as food manufacturers face in gathering data about their food supply chains and using that data to promote sustainability. The paper is based on over fifty semi-structured interviews with companies and analysis of their data collection tools.

Image: Max Pixel, Agriculture Tractor Arable, CC0 Public Domain
2 October 2019

This paper explores ways of ending hunger without causing excessive environmental damage. It finds that ending hunger through economic growth alone (an approach that would try to increase overall food availability without addressing food consumption inequality) would require 20% more food production by 2030 than in business-as-usual, as well as generating higher carbon emissions and using more agricultural land.

Image: DanaTentis, Sardine Pesce Fresco, Pixabay, Pixabay License
2 October 2019

This paper models the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water footprints of both baseline consumption patterns and nine different healthy diets that prioritise plant ingredients for 140 countries. The authors find large differences in GHG and water footprints between countries, with vegan, two-thirds vegan or “low food chain” (including insects, molluscs and forage fish) diets generally leading to the greatest footprint reductions.

18 September 2019

FoodPrint, a project run by GRACE Communications Foundation, has produced an overview of the laws and regulations affecting food in the United States, including details of how food policy is made at different levels of government (federal, state and local). 

18 September 2019

Michelle Cain, Myles Allen and John Lynch of the University of Oxford have published a plain-language briefing note that explains how different ways of measuring the climate impact of methane (GWP100 versus GWP*) affect definitions of net zero emissions targets.

18 September 2019

FCRN member David Cleveland has co-authored this book, which addresses how food gardens can be used by people to respond to climate change through both adaptation and mitigation.

18 September 2019

This book explores the controversies surrounding the use of geographical indication labels on food and their relationship to different forms of socio-economic development.

18 September 2019

This briefing paper from the UK’s Food Research Collaboration argues that accepting United States food safety and animal welfare standards as part of a post-Brexit trade deal would imply “significant risks to public health and a radical decline in food quality standards which would be unprecedented and unacceptable in the UK”. 

18 September 2019

This briefing paper from the UK’s Food Research Collaboration examines the impact that a “no-deal Brexit” (i.e. the UK leaving the European Union without an agreement on trade or other matters) would have on food supply chains that cross the border between Northern Ireland (NI) and the Republic of Ireland (ROI).

18 September 2019

This report sets out the plans of the UK’s NFU (National Farmers Union) to make emissions from agriculture in England and Wales net zero by 2040. It calls for collaboration between farmers, government and NGOs to reduce emissions through improved production efficiency, carbon capture through land management, and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

18 September 2019

In August 2019, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a special report on climate change and land, covering a variety of interlinked topics including desertification, land degradation, food security, water scarcity, negative emissions, and policy options for both adaptation and mitigation.

Image: Pxhere, Bacon breakfast closeup, CC0 Public Domain
18 September 2019

This paper quantifies the carbon emissions, water use and land use associated with the consumption of food excess to requirements, on the basis that overnutrition has sometimes been classified as a form of food waste. It finds high geographical variation in the environmental impacts of so-called excess food consumption, with impacts being an order of magnitude greater in Europe, North America and Oceania than in sub-Saharan Africa.

Image: Alexandra Pugachevsky, Phosphate Mining at SNPT, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
18 September 2019

This paper reviews the literature on the supply chain of phosphorus, a nutrient required in agriculture, and finds that current reporting is inadequate regarding phosphorus reserves and resources, losses along the supply chain, environmental and sociopolitical externalities, and open access to data.

Image: nil2hoff, Birds rainforest birds, Pixabay, Pixabay License
18 September 2019

This paper models the global land use change implications of three different dietary scenarios up to the year 2100: business as usual with a continued shift away from pulses and starchy roots and towards animal products; a 95% global reduction in consumption of ruminant products compared to business as usual, with ruminant products to be replaced by cereals, pulses, starchy roots and oilcrops but other meat types to be consumed as in business as usual; and a 95% reduction in consumption of both ruminant and monogastric products. 

22 July 2019

This opinion piece in The Hill by Stephanie Feldstein, population and sustainability director at the Centre for Biological Diversity, argues that the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (which is reviewing the guidelines for their 2020-2025 edition) is strongly influenced by the food industry and that the committee will not be allowed to conduct a full review of the evidence on questions such as food sustainability.

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