More sustainable food systems (exploratory opinion requested by the Dutch presidency)

EESC opinion: More sustainable food systems (exploratory opinion requested by the Dutch presidency)

Key points

  • Recognising the urgent need to tackle the multiple economic, environmental and social consequences of food production and consumption, the EESC calls on the European Commission and Member States to develop a clear EU policy and implementation plan for building a sustainable, resilient, healthy, fair and climate-friendly food system, which encourages cooperation and mutual understanding among all stakeholders along the food supply chain. Better coherence and integration of food-related policy objectives and instruments (e.g. on agriculture, environment, health, climate, employment, etc.) must be ensured taking into account the three pillars of sustainability.
  • The EESC believes that a transition to more sustainable food systems encompassing all stages from production to consumption is greatly needed - producers need to grow more food while reducing the environmental impact, while consumers must be encouraged to shift to nutritious and healthy diets with a lower carbon footprint.
  • In particular, a transition to sustainable food systems requires a comprehensive food policy, integrated with a broad-based bioeconomy strategy, not an agricultural policy alone. Rather than engage in a polarising debate, interdisciplinary thinking is needed, bringing together the DGs of the Commission, a wide range of ministries and institutions in the Member States, together with local and regional governments and stakeholders across food systems, to tackle the interconnected challenges highlighted in this opinion.

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