The European Food System: The transition towards sustainability and climate mitigation

Our society faces challenges more urgent than ever. The food sector is striving to transform the way that we produce, manage and consume food. This will achieve sustainable and resilient agricultural production systems that can at the same time help reduce emissions and adapt to changing environmental conditions.

Agriculture is both strongly impacted by climate change and a driver of climate change. Globally, the food system as a whole represents up to 37% of total global human-induced emissions.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also raised questions about the fragility of our food supply, putting food security back on the agenda. Coupled with the on-going threat of climate change, agriculture has a crucial role to play to ensure European food remains safe, nutritious, affordable and plentiful.

A sustainably-driven recovery in Europe will require a re-think of the agrifood system with an integrated approach to climate, food and ecosystems. There is a growing polarisation in the way society perceives solutions to agrifood challenges. Some focus on sustainability, whilst others favour economic ‘pragmatism’. To achieve sustainable food systems, policymakers must look at evidence-based arguments, engaging with actors from multiple sectors at local, national and regional level. Only this will lead to a holistic, fair, and coordinated approach. Ongoing investments in research and innovation will be crucial to achieve the necessary changes.

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