Brussels, 29 June – The European Vegetarian Union (EVU) applauds the recently published report by the Scientific Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA), titled “Towards Sustainable Food Consumption”.
The comprehensive report was requested by the European Commission to support the revision of the Farm to Fork Strategy. It examines the environmental, health, and social aspects of food consumption and sets out policy recommendations to help EU citizens transition towards sustainable diets.
“The science is clear, the report has yet another unmistakable outcome which policy makers have to finally follow: To make our food system sustainable, we need to change our diets towards plant-based and we need politics driving this change.” says Ronja Berthold, Policy Manager at the EVU.
The scientists state that “There is a broad consensus in the recommended dietary pattern across countries: to predominantly eat a plant-based diet” besides also finding that “limiting the consumption of meat and dairy, especially in affluent settings where consumption is high, is a crucial strategy to mitigate climate change, to stop biodiversity loss, halt obesity and fight chronic non-transmissible diseases.”
As recommended policy measures the report calls for the use of incentives and disincentives, such as fiscal measures, carbon taxes, VAT and subsidy scheme adjustments for production systems with low environmental performances in order to make sustainable and healthy food cheaper. It also highlights the importance of food environments such as schools and the role of public procurement in promoting sustainable and healthy eating.
“The policy asks from scientists resonate strongly with what we’ve been advocating for. The EVU urges policymakers, businesses, and individuals to embrace the recommendations put forth in the report” comments Ronja Berthold.
The EVU also underlines that scientists state that “there is evidence that meat industry representative bodies have obstructed public discourse on the negative impacts from meat consumption”. The report even draws a parallel between the tactics of major meat players and the tobacco industry.
This comes one day before the publication of a Politico and Lighthouse investigation on how the EU farm lobby influences policy making with special access to information, revolving doors to institutions and even threatening decision makers.
To access the SAPEA report “Towards Sustainable Food Consumption,” please visit https://sapea.info/topic/food-consumption/.