On December 7th, the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation (BCFN) launched their new Food Sustainability Index tool at the European Parliament, Brussels.  The index, which was created with the Economist Intelligence Unit, ranks countries based on three different pillars; nutritional challenges, sustainable agriculture and food loss and waste. The index currently covers 25 countries, 87% of GDP and 2/3 of the global population.

The event launch was attended by various sectors including MEPs, civil society actors, foundations, business and industry. The roundtable opened a conversation on the current systemic problems in our food system and looking to the future, how can these issues be overcome. The three paradoxes pointed out by Luca Virginio, Vice Chairman of BCFN are the coexistence of obesity and hunger in the world, both resulting in malnutrition; the overexploitation of resources to produce food where then people, animals and fuel compete; and the persistence of food loss and waste. These three paradoxes point to a broken food system.

Solving these complex issues is no easy task but the conversation led to some ideas of what could be done. Firstly, most agree that a new food policy is needed. In Europe the current CAP is not comprehensive enough to deal with the issues outlined above. We need to stop working in silos so those working in health, nutrition, sustainability, the environment, industry and more form a new alliance to deal with these intertwined problems. Secondly, agriculture needs to innovate. Technology is available that will assist farmers in increasing sustainability but the uptake is low. However, as Mr. Virginio pointed out, consumers make the final choice so we should make it easier for them to choose the healthier, more sustainable option.

The Food Sustainability Index can be used to push in the right direction. By being able to compare countries on these three pillars it may create competition to improve. The aim is to expand to more countries in the future and BCFN are open to partnering with organisations to achieve this. You can find out more on the index, indicators used and rankings here.

BCFN Forum on Food and Nutrition 2017 will take place in Milan on December 5th 2017. Make sure to save the date!