Leveraging human health and environmental sustainability with equality: Identifying opportunities and challenges in approaching a net-zero global food system

PI: Pan He (Cardiff)

Co-Is: Jesse Abrams (Exeter), Kristin Liabo (Exeter), Okechukwu Okorie (Exeter), Yixian Sun (Bath)

The global food system has been contributing to one third of the global anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions along with other environmental impacts such as intensive water withdrawal and ecological degradation. Meanwhile, health issues remain significant due to dietary inadequacy varying from undernourishment to overconsumption of meat characterised by unequal socio-economic status. In stepping to a Net Zero future, successful intervention in the food system should demonstrate its effectiveness in climate change mitigation while bringing co-benefits to the achievement of food security, environmental sustainability, and social justice.

However, evidence-based research on policy interventions for food system transformation remains scant. The proposed project aims at combining synergies and trade-offs of different sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the process of net-zero food system transformation. Taking advantage of the interdisciplinarity of the project team, we seek to improve the knowledge on pathways towards food systems aligning with the principle of Net Zero as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Our findings will not only contribute to the academic literature on Net Zero transition, but also inform the design of cross-cutting policies that are urgently needed to promote sustainable food transformation. To increase the project’s impact, we will engage with key stakeholders in the food system to identify feasible interventions for the GW4 region.