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Scientific Updates /

Sustainable diets for better human and planetary health

22 April 2020

Type:

Expert opinion

A 2019 Alpro Foundation fully referenced scientific report

The combination of growing global population, increasing urbanization and economic growth are placing a huge demand on the global food system. Our current patterns of food production and consumption are unsustainable. We are breaching safe operating limits, particularly with regards to climate change and biodiversity loss.

A sustainable diet is a dietary pattern that provides us with the many nutrients we need for health, in appropriate amounts, but that is culturally acceptable, affordable and sustainable. In order to reduce ecological and human health impacts there is a need to reduce overconsumption of protein and calories, reduce food waste and replace animal protein with plant protein.

Alpro Foundation produced an in-depth fully referenced report in 2019 containing extensive scientific data, figures and videos that will give you a better insight into this complex and challenging topic. The report can be viewed in full or in summary format in multiple languages or by individual chapters.

Full report: More plant-based eating for the planet

This 40-page report by Mark Driscoll provides an in depth scientific review of how a global dietary shift towards more plant-based diets is critical if we are to safeguard both human and planetary health.

Our current food system plays a significant role in the breaching of a number of environmental limits, including biodiversity loss, nitrogen cycle disruption and climate change as well as driving the continued escalation of non-communicable diseases. Conversion of protein from feed crops into animal protein for human consumption is inherently resource-inefficient and has driven many of these impacts.

The three chapters provide insight into:

  1. The Global Sustainability Challenges: An Overview

  2. Planetary Impacts of Production and Consumption

  3. The Need for Sustainable Diets

Download the full report:

Summary report: Sustainable diets for better human and planetary health

This four-page fact sheets provides a concise overview of the 40-page full report including:

  1. Why we need to shift towards sustainable diets

  2. Key health and sustainability impacts of our food choices

  3. Practical tips for citizens on how to adopt a sustainable diet

Download the summary report:

Chapter 1: The global sustainable challenges

The opening chapter of the report provides an overview of the global sustainable challenges of our food system and the different pillars of a sustainable food system that need to be considered. The chapter provides insights into the different sustainable frameworks including the planetary boundaries and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Topics include:

  1. What is a sustainable food system?

  2. Key trends impacting on our food system and planetary health

  3. Planetary boundaries framework and our food system

  4. International commitments - Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Paris Climate Change agreements and biodiversity commitments

Chapter 1: the global sustainability challenges

Chapter 2: Planetary impacts of food production and consumption

Chapter 2 of the report provides a clear evidence overview of exactly how our food choices impact on the environment and other sustainable pillars. This chapter highlights the importance of tackling sustainable factors throughout the life cycle of food – from farm to fork and waste and covers:

  1. Food security

  2. Climate change and GHGe

  3. Land-use change and biodiversity

  4. Energy usage

  5. Water quality and quantity

  6. Food waste, packaging waste and trade-offs

  7. Social and economic impacts

Chapter 2: Planetary impacts of food production and consumption

Chapter 3: The need for sustainable diets

Chapter 3 of the report reviews the latest evidence investigating sustainable diets which strongly indicate that dietary patterns which are predominantly composed of healthy plant foods have a lower environmental impact and promote beneficial health outcomes. This chapters covers:

  1. What is a sustainable diet?

  2. The EAT-Lancet Commission Report

  3. Sustainable diets in practice: best case examples

  4. A review of studies evaluating environmental impact of plant-based diets

Chapter 3: The need for sustainable diets

Alpro Foundation report

More plant-based eating for the planet - the full report

Alpro Foundation report

Sustainable diets for better human and planetary health - a summary report

Alpro Foundation report

Chapter 1 – Global sustainable challenge

Alpro Foundation report

Chapter 2 – Planetary impacts of food production and consumption

Alpro Foundation report

Chapter 3 – The need for sustainable diets

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Alpro Foundation report

More plant-based eating for the planet - the full report

This in-depth, fully referenced report contains extensive scientific data, figures and videos that will give you a better insight into this complex and challenging topic.