The European Commission’s sustainable food consultation is closing soon

30 September 2013

The European Commission’s consultation on sustainable food is closing on 1 October. The Commission plans to publish a ‘Communication on Sustainability of the Food System’ in early 2014.

The Commission believes that alongside transport and energy, food production has significant environmental impact through greenhouse gas emissions, use of land and water resources, and pollution. It suggests that:

For food, a sustainable system might be seen as encompassing a range of issues such as security of the supply of food, health, safety, affordability, quality, a strong food industry in terms of jobs and growth and, at the same time, environmental sustainability, in terms of issues such as climate change, biodiversity, water and soil quality.

The consultation asks about definitions of the term ‘sustainable food’, and presents a number of areas for action, as follows:

  • Better technical knowledge on the environmental impacts of food
  • Stimulating sustainable food production
  • Promoting sustainable food consumption
  • Reducing food waste and losses
  • Improving food policy coherence

Further information, including links to the policy background, can be found here. The consultation itself can be viewed here.

In Wales, events earlier this year brought the sustainability of the food system into the public eye. Issues raised by the contamination of beef products with horsemeat and the impact of severe weather conditions on some farm businesses have raised questions about the resilience and sustainability of our current system.

In June the Institute of Welsh Affairs hosted a conference to look at how Wales could become a sustainable food nation. The conference discussed the role of food in improving our economy, environment, health and wellbeing. Further information on the conference can be found here.

Related Links:

The Research Service’s Food Security Research Paper.

The Environment and Sustainability Committee’s Sustainable Land Management Enquiry.

The Welsh Government’s Independent review into the resilience of farming in Wales.

Article by Elfyn Henderson.