How do we make the change?

Last changed: 12 January 2022

In order for the global food system to be sustainable and provide food for all, it needs to be transformed. It requires major societal changes and a major shift in production and consumption - locally, nationally and globally.

We are all consumers of food! Consumption of food causes both sustainable and unsustainable effects on the environment and health. Therefore, our consumption habits are a key to both increased health and more sustainable food systems.

Increased efficiency in food production is a way to save resources, such as land, and at the same time increase the amount produced. Increased yields in agriculture have lifted millions of people out of poverty and hunger over the past hundred years. But it is not enough to just increase the amount of food to ensure health - the quality of the food is also important, both in terms of infection risks and nutrition.

Globally, people's access to food is largely dependent on women's work in farming, animal husbandry and fishing. Women often lack food security because they lack basic rights such as owning land, having access to decent working conditions, education and health care. Ensuring women's human rights is therefore a key strategy for ensuring a secure food supply.

Gender aspects are also to be taken into account in Sweden. Men dominate the green industries and both own more land, have higher living incomes than their female colleagues, while it can weigh in the other direction when it comes to time with children and family and injuries and deaths at work. Gender equality is important for profitability, attractiveness and the ability to innovate - this is important now that Sweden's goal is to increase domestic food production.

Most of the climate emissions, chemical emissions, land use and antibiotic use from Swedish food consumption take place abroad due to a high import of food produced abroad. Through imports, we also have an impact on the economy and social factors in other countries. Here we can and must take greater responsibility and can accomplish much that is good.

In Sweden, the use of antibiotics in animal production is low, but animal health and yields are still high. Here, Sweden can continue to show the way for other countries.

And then we need to come to terms with losses and wastage of food.

In the transformation, one needs to have a system view and take into account environmental, economic and social sustainability in an integrated way with a responsibility for the whole - individual measures are not enough.

The need for action looks different in different parts of the world. And also depending on whether you look from a local, national or global perspective. The transformation must be carried out in broad collaborations where many different competencies are used, and in an inclusive and fair way. New knowledge, innovations, technology development, instruments and adapted regulations are needed to support this.

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