Official Dialogue Feedback to the United Nations 2021 Food Systems Summit
Type of Dialogue
Language of Dialogue Event
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Creating food systems that provide healthy food to everyone today and in future generations without exploiting human or planetary resources is one of the greatest challenges of this century. Sustainability is multifaceted and food systems represent not only environmental factors (ecology), but are also sensitive to the health of the population today and in the future (nutrition, food security), and society as a whole (ethics and social welfare). Trust and transparency in the food system is essential for any sustainability intervention to be meaningful and motivate change in individuals or industries.
Food Labelling Systems have the ability to accelerate the transition to sustainable and healthy food systems and a sustainable future, by increasing transparency along the food chain. They are themselves dynamic and complex, involving a multitude of changeable and inter-related activities, actors, and infrastructure from the production to the consumption and recycling or disposal of food. At every point there can be multiple environmental effects related to biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions (eg, carbon dioxide, methane), and the use of land, water, or other resources. All these factors complicate the ability to create a metric or index that can trace a product as it journeys through the food system to assess its environmental, health, or social impacts.
Food consumption and dietary choices can make an important contribution to meeting current environmental challenges, informing the consumer in a way that can promote sustainable and responsible consumption. As a result, the development and use of sustainability labelling has the potential to play a role in moving towards sustainable and healthy food systems and a sustainable future, as outlined in the aims of the “Farm-to-Fork Strategy” and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The reach of food labelling is considerable and could increase public awareness of how food is produced and consumed.
The Independent Dialogue convened in Greece in the context of the United Nations Food System Summit will explore the issue of sustainable food labelling, under the lens of the Summit’s five interconnected Action Tracks:
Action Track 1: Ensuring access to safe and nutritious food for all
Action Track 2: Shift to sustainable consumption patterns
Action Track 3: Boosting nature-positive production
Action Track 4: Advancing equitable livelihoods
Action Track 5: Building resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks and stress
- Raise awareness on the UNFSS and the importance of food labelling in fostering sustainable food systems
- Launch a participatory process and public survey on sustainable food labelling schemes that integrate the Summit’s 5 Action Tracks
- Report findings and provide feedback to the UNFSS as the only input from Greece
- Process inputs from the Independent Dialogue and the UNFSS to formulate policy recommendations for sustainable Food Labelling Systems in the European Union