A sustainable food system is one that encompasses the aspects of social, environmental and economic sustainability in a farm to fork context. While there is no one focussed government plan on sustainable food production, the complexity of the food system means that a ‘systems’ (or ‘joined up’) approach is necessary if effective policy responses are to be developed by business and government. Then need is great; growing environmental pressures, including climate change, soil degradation, disruption of water cycles, expanding pathogen ranges and increasing regularity of extreme weather events, coupled with population growth and migration impact on and will continue to affect the food system.
What IFST is doing about it
In 2017 we published a report on Sustainable Food Systems, which provides a framework for future activities and partnerships, to focus our efforts in what is an extremely large topic area. It can be downloaded below and more information is available here.
We have also signed the Courtauld Agreement initiated by WRAP and are committed to supporting WRAP in the activities that are progressing under this agreement.
In 2019, we re-engaged a Sustainability Steering Group to support IFST in translating the issues, sharing updates on developments and provide outputs relating to sustainability.
Critical Priorities Food System Sustainability
The critical priorities relevant to UK food systems sustainability have been identified by the IFST Sustainability Steering Group in response to a direct request from DEFRA. The details can be found in the formal response provided to DEFRA in October 2019.