About SustAinimal

Last changed: 16 February 2024
Consortium logos. Picture.

SustAinimal is a leading knowledge centre for decision-makers and stakeholders to turn to for collaboration and knowledge about the role of food-producing animals in the development of a resilient, sustainable and competitive food production in Sweden.

SustAinimal –

  • Works to contribute to the development of competitive, sustainable and resilient agriculture and food systems in Sweden.
  • Looks at the food system as a whole to get at the complexities and to find sustainable solutions.
  • Is a place for dialogue and a crossroad for different needs, perspectives and objectives.
  • Is characterised by research and partner collaborations between actors from academia, companies, industries and authorities.
  • Stands on a scientific basis and goes where the research leads, even if it is contradictory.

Works from a holistic perspective

The world shares major challenges, such as, climate change, biodiversity conservation, circular systems and sustainable growth. Food production and consumption need to change fundamentally worldwide and also in Sweden.

The transition requires the research to take a holistic approach, weigh the pros and cons, create models that help us see all connections and effects, and study and evaluates these models. This is what SustAinimal is currently working on.

SustAinimal currently has 17 partners with a broad representation from universities, research institutes, industry organisations and companies. Together we ask urgent and difficult questions. We share knowledge and build new knowledge. And we are working intensively to find solutions to complex problems. The research itself is carried out by PhD students and young researchers in SustAinimal Academy projects.

A change with many involved actors

No one can predict what the future of Swedish food systems will look like. But what we do know is that in a responsible transition, research needs to take the lead. And that many actors must work together. SustAinimal goes where the research leads, and we focus on a transition where many actors are involved.

The sustainability, competitiveness and resilience of future food systems depend on the ability of farms to make a living from producing healthy food. SustAinimal is based on the objectives of the National Food Strategy, and looks at the profitability of the entire value chain, from farm to processing and sales.

We study how much the food systems produce and what ecosystem services they generate, and weigh the value-creating supplies against the environmental and climate impact of livestock farms. SustAinimal also looks at the ability of food systems to continue supplying food even if something unforeseen happens, such as extreme weather, crisis or war.

Better utilisation of agricultural land

Sweden is a long country with different conditions for food production, with differences in climate, soil and proximity to consumers. SustAinimal initially focuses on three regions, Västerbotten, Västra Götaland and Skåne to investigate how different geographical solutions can benefit the food supply in Sweden.
A large part of the agricultural land in Sweden is currently being used to produce animal feed. SustAinimal investigates how the land can be used to generate as much nutrition, food, important environmental and social value as possible. From both plant cultivation and animal husbandry..

In recent years, the natural grazing land in Sweden has decreased so much that species that only exist there have become extinct. It is only grazing animals that can keep natural pastures alive. Therefore, SustAinimal is also investigating how important it is for farming systems and ecosystems to be restored and increase the use of natural pastures.


Quick facts

SustAinimal is funded by Formas and their partners. The centre is led by SLU together with the research institute RISE and coordinated by Vreta Kluster. Other partners are SVA, Uppsala University, Linköping University, Dalarna University, Lantmännen, LRF, Hushållningssällskapet, Norrmejerier, KLS Ugglarps, Agroväst, Växa Sverige, Gård & Djurhälsan, Föreningen Svenskt Naturbeteskött and Svenska Vallföreningen.
Time period of the centre: 2020–2024 with possible extension 2024–2028
Financial support: Formas is investing 48 MSEK. Other funders/project partners contribute at least 8 MSEK.
Centre Host: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU
Director of SustAinimal: Sigrid Agenäs, SLU
Assistant Director: Per Peetz Nielsen, RISE
Coordinator: Helene Oscarsson, Vreta Kluster

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