Food sustainability

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Food is at the centre of our lives and an integral part of the European culture. However, the food we eat, the ways we produce it and the amounts wasted have major impacts on human health, natural resources and society as a whole:

  • Citizens –and children in particular– are increasingly suffering from overweight and obesity due to unhealthy diets.
  • Farmers and workers do not get a fair price for their produce.
  • One third of food is lost or wasted across the food chain.
  • The environment is paying the bill with the dramatic effects of food production and consumption on climate change, loss of biodiversity, air and water pollution, soil degradation, etc.

The COVID-19 crisis is a wake-up call for change. It has demonstrated that getting food "from farm to fork" cannot be taken for granted and has shown the interconnectedness of actors and activities throughout the food system. Fair, resource efficient, inclusive and sustainable supply chains in the whole agriculture and food sector are needed more than ever to deliver equally for citizens, farmers, workers and business.

The EESC has been for years at the forefront of calling for a sustainable and comprehensive food policy. Such an integrated and systemic approach is essential to tackle the multiple and interconnected challenges affecting food systems; to deliver economic, environmental and socio-cultural sustainability; to ensure integration and coherence across policy areas (such as agriculture, environment, health, education, trade, economy, technology, etc.); and to promote cooperation across levels of governance

  • Adopted on 05/05/2011
    Reference
    NAT/503-EESC-2011-01-01-810
    Diversity Europe - GR III
    Bulgaria
    Plenary session number
    471
    -
  • Adopted on 05/05/2011
    Reference
    NAT/504-EESC-2011-01-01-811
    Employers - GR I
    Spain
    Plenary session number
    471
    -
  • Adopted on 05/05/2011
    Reference
    NAT/506-EESC-2011-01-01-813
    Diversity Europe - GR III
    United Kingdom
    Plenary session number
    471
    -
  • Adopted on 20/01/2011
    Reference
    NAT/483-EESC-2011-01-01-68
    Diversity Europe - GR III
    Spain
    Plenary session number
    468
    -
  • Adopted on 09/12/2010
    Reference
    NAT/468-EESC-2010-01-01-1622
    Diversity Europe - GR III
    Austria
    Plenary session number
    467
    -
  • Adopted on 28/04/2010
    Reference
    NAT/455-EESC-2010-01-01-648
    Employers - GR I
    Spain
    Diversity Europe - GR III
    Spain
    Plenary session number
    462
    -
  • During its section meeting of 22 November 2023, the NAT section held a debate on food speculation as a follow up of its opinion on "Food price crisis: the role of speculation and concrete proposals for action in the aftermath of the Ukraine war".

  • Fair prices for both farmers and consumers and truthful and transparent information are essential if the primary sector and consumers are to play their key role in guaranteeing strategic autonomy in European food production. This sovereignty must be in line with the European Green Deal's Farm to Fork strategy, which requires an adjustment of current food policies.

  • Speech by President Séamus Boland on EU food sovereignty

    Inaugural speech by Séamus Boland, President of the Civil Society Organisations' Group of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

    Conference on 'EU food sovereignty: the role of agriculture, fisheries and consumers', Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 26 September 2023

  • EU organic awards
    Reference number
    6/2022

    Today, as a true pan-European collaborative venture, the European Commission, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), COPA-COGECA and IFOAM Organics Europe are together launching the first ever EU organic awards. These awards will recognise excellence along the organic value chain, rewarding the best and most innovative actors in organic production in the EU. Applications will be open from 25 March until 8 June 2022.