SLU news

Sustainability - the recipe for success

Published: 30 October 2019

The Swedish FAO Committee has launched a publication about sustainability as the business case for agriculture and forestry, to which SLU researchers have contributed.

The Swedish FAO Committee has launched its 2019 publication, with examples from Sweden and Swedish knowledge with a global outlook. It shows the possibilities of sustainable agriculture and forestry where the sustainability perspective is also the recipe for success. The publication is called Towards 2030 – sustainability as the business case for agriculture and forestry and researchers from SLU have contributed with content: 

Diversified cultivation systems can support sustainable intensification of future plant production.
Authors: Ingrid Öborn, Riccardo Bommarco, Göran Bergkvist, Mattias Jonsson (pp. 34-37)

Professor Ingrid Öborn has summerised the key messages from the chapter on sustainable intensification of future plant production.

Key messages

  • Safeguarding the food security for all while meeting the UN's SDGs and complying with international agreements on climate and biodiversity is a huge challenge for farming across the globe.
  • However we produce our food, the environment will be affected, but the impact is not always negative. Much of our biodiversity is a direct consequence of food production and arises where land is cultivated or grazed and in the borderland between agriculture and other land uses.
  • In the chapter we give examples of how diversified cultivation systems can contribute towards sustainable intensification of crop production in the future: greater diversity of crop types – protein-, oil- and cereal crops, roots and tubers, vegetables; more perennial crops and shrubs/trees; higher soil coverage during the year (cover crops, intercropping); grazing animals being part of the farming landscape and regional integration of animal husbandry and arable farming.
  • We face a new generation of both producers and consumers who are driving sustainable development. There is a great interest among farmers today in developing and testing new cropping systems and methods

Is agroecology the model for sustainable agriculture? Questions and answers from Swedish and international research.
Author: Georg Carlsson (pp. 29-30)

Associate Professor Georg Carlsson gives his refelections below.

Sustainability as business case – yes, but what is sustainable agriculture?

To produce food with the optimum nutrient intake for the entire global population, to limit the environmental impact according to planetary boundaries, to adapt the choice of crops, animal husbandry and production inputs to local conditions, to conserve or enhance soil fertility, to ensure an attractive work situation for everyone who works with food production. To achieve all this at the same time as farms and other agricultural enterprises need to ensure short- and long-term profitability. The strive towards more sustainable agriculture means that many different goals as well as the conditions for different actors need to be considered and understood in a holistic perspective. In short, this is what agroecology is about – working in interdisciplinary contexts and together with different stakeholders to evaluate and improve the sustainability of the entire food system.

Download and read the publication here.


About the Swedish FAO Committee

The Swedish FAO Committee was formed in 1950, the same year that Sweden became a member of FAO. The task of the Committee is to assist the Government in its work for food security for all, while taking account of global development and the preservation of biodiversity in the areas of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

It is also to spread knowledge about and raise interest in the work of FAO in Sweden.