Protecting the planet
Sustainability in the food system is one of the main global challenges we need to tackle if we want to combat and mitigate the climate, environmental and health emergency.
Overall, the agri-food system is responsible for between 21% and 37% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and this percentage is expected to rise in the coming decades. This means that, to combat the climate emergency, we must transform the prevailing food system and our diets. In fact, we should adopt the planetary health diet, which is good for both people's health and the planet.
The impact of this food system is not limited to the climate crisis. It is also closely linked to soil depletion on agricultural land, water contamination, overfishing and mass extinction, entailing a loss of 75% of cultivated biodiversity and 80% deforestation.
On top of all that, much of the food in the current system lacks nutrients, contains chemical residues and is packaged in plastic, which ends up polluting both soil and water.
The role of cities in sustainable food
Cities play a key role in how the food system works, and could be a fundamental part of its transformation. They only take up 3% of the total land surface area, but 55% of the world’s population lives in them. They consume nearly two thirds of the energy and water for domestic use. They generate over 50% of waste and 70% of emissions. And the urban setting tends to encourage a sedentary lifestyle, with high rates of obesity.
There is a lot of work to do.