EAT Report 'Diets for a Better Future' launched

TileToday, EAT is launching its new report 'Diets for a Better Future', authored by Dr. Brent Loken and demonstrating the leading role G20 countries can and must take to realise the exponential changes required for a healthy and sustainable world.

'The future of the food system will be central in shaping the future of our planet and our civilisation.'

Summary

The report investigates current food consumption patterns and the efficacy of national dietary guidelines in G20 countries compared to the Planetary Health Diet. It also explores the potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by shifting toward more healthy and sustainable diets and how this could lead to a more equitable distribution of the global “carbon budget” for food. 
 

Firstly, the report outlines the challenges we are faced with today: 

? Dietary choices in G20 countries are destroying the planet.
? Food is critical in our fight against climate change and requires leadership from the G20.
? National dietary guidelines are an opportunity for policymakers to support coherent food and agriculture priorities aligned with the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.
1️⃣ A shift toward healthy and sustainable diets should be a priority in all G20 countries.
? Food-related per-capita emissions in G20 countries as a whole need to be approximately halved by 2050.
? Following the current G20 countries national dietary guidelines will not ensure global warming stays below 1.5°C
? The G20 countries have a variety of rich and vibrant diets and culinary traditions that require different approaches and scales of intervention to achieve healthy diets within planetary boundaries.


ContentThen, in the following six consecutive chapters, the report examines:

1) Why food is fundamental (Spotlight on the exponential action needed to protect the Earth system) 

2) How we can guide the food choices we make (Focus on the National Dietary Guidelines (NDGs)as critical policy tools) 

3) How we can lead the way (Assessment of the food consumption patterns in G20 countries)

4) What the global climate impact of food is in G20 countries 

5) How we can achieve healthy diets for all within planetary boundaries and

6) What a roadmap to change looks like (opportunities for G20 countries to achieve the necessary shifts). 

“A shift toward healthy diets, such as the Planetary Health Diet, is the single greatest lever for reducing food-related greenhouse gas emissions. Our study is the first to benchmark current consumption and national dietary guidelines against the EAT-Lancet ́s Planetary Health Diet in and amongst G20 countries, revealing a huge potential for emission reduction and public health benefits while also enabling a more equitable distribution of the global carbon budget for food [...].” – Dr. Gunhild Stordalen, founder and executive chair of EAT

The Power is on our Plate

Deep-Dive


National Dietary Guidelines

The new EAT study reveals that while a handful of G20 countries – including Indonesia, China, India and South Korea –currently maintain national dietary guidelines near healthy, sustainable levels, other countries in the bloc, such as Argentina, the United States and European Union member states, have yet to unlock the profound and diverse benefits of replacing overconsumption of beef and dairy with eating more vegetables, grains and nuts. For some countries, such as Indonesia and India, the challenge is maintaining sustainable diets while ensuring everyone has enough to eat.

The report adds that national dietary guidelines are more than mere guidelines. They can also be used to 1) determine the public procurement of food, 2) guide public health initiatives and educational programs, and 3) are a key component of public health policy.


Affordability

However, national dietary guidelines will not be effective if the foods they recommend eating are not affordable to all citizens. Therefore, affordability must be elevated as a priority along with health and environmental sustainability.


Consumption patterns

In addition, most individuals in G20 countries have to radically change current consumption patterns. Currently, individuals in most of these countries are eating too much of the wrong food, to the detriment of climate, health and economies. If the entire globe were to adopt current G20 consumption patterns, we would need between 1 to 7.5 additional Earths, depending on which G20 consumption pattern the world adopted.


Food Print

Through a quantification and analysis of current food consumption and national dietary guidelines, the EAT report calculates the total “food print” of each G20 country. It finds that when taken together, this bloc, representing 10% of the world’s countries and 64% of the global population, currently accounts for 75% of the total global food-related emissions the entire planet must maintain to meet Paris Agreement goals.


Global Food Production

The study stresses that global food production is the single largest human pressure on Earth. It reports that feeding and producing food for our current population of 7.7 billion people accounts for approximately 12.5 Gt CO2eq or 24% of annual emissions. Of this, almost half accounts for livestock production and rotting food waste, while the rest comes from rice production, agriculture practices, fertiliser use, land conversion and deforestation mainly for agriculture.


COVID-19

“The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted, yet again, that what we eat matters.The pandemic is a manifestation of our broken relationship with nature and how we produce and consume food is at the heart of this [...]." – Joao Campari, WWF’s food practice leader

 

ConclusionsMany of the world's current crises can be traced back to food production and consumption – especially those in G20 nations. The report concludes that despite this, despite the central role of food consumption and production in the climate crisis and its critical role in ending malnutrition worldwide, food production and consumption patterns have not been considered central to global policy agendas such as the Paris Agreement, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or Convention on Biological Diversity.

The world's richest nations are in a special position to demand better from our food systems to ensure we successfully fight and conquer these challenges. 

 

EAT

EATEAT is an Oslo-based non-profit with a global mission to transform our global food system through sound science, impatient disruption and novel partnerships. EAT is focused on shifting the global food system toward a fair and sustainable model that promotes health for both people and planet. Cutting across sectors and disciplines, EAT brings together policy-makers, industry leaders, researchers and civil society from around the world to develop realistic, practical solutions that yield big impact and fast. Learn more at www.eatforum.org and follow on Twitter at @EATforum and Instagram at @eatfoundation.