KNOWLEDGE MAP Back to overview

An overview of insights on the (un)sustainability of the international food system.

Food & Sustainability

What goals are set for different parties in the Dutch food system?

To give direction to the realization of a sustainable food system, the government and industry established several goals, such as increasing overall sustainability, reducing waste and promoting transparency.

The government

In the Policy Letter Sustainable Food Production, the State Secretary of Economic Affairs gives an overview of the main goals of government policy:

  • Restoring confidence in the food sector by guaranteeing the integrity and safety of food throughout the food chain and an early detection of risks for intervention
  • Increasing sustainability of products and production processes in the context of the Top Sector Agri & Food and in collaboration with the Alliance for Food Sustainability (‘Alliantie Verduurzaming Voedsel’), as well as promoting sustainable consumption and the use of alternative proteins
  • Reducing food waste by periodically measuring total food waste, raising consumer awareness, facilitating businesses and promoting an international agenda
  • Improving the dominant business model such that innovation becomes more attractive, and adjusting competition policies in order to enable sustainable cooperation
  • Strengthening food security in an international perspective

Rijksoverheid (2013), p. 2-13.


The Netherlands knows many coalitions working together over the entire value chain. One of these is the Alliance for Food Sustainability, a partnership between the Association of Dutch Catering Organisations (Veneca, catering), the Dutch Food Industry Federation (FNLI, processors), Food Retail Association (CBL, supermarkets), Agricultural and Horticultural Organisation Netherlands (LTO, producers) and Hospitality Netherlands (Horeca). Among their main goals are measuring company food waste and living up to the established minimum standards for poultry and pork by 2020.

AVV (2015), p. 3-5.

International: Sustainable Development Goals

To meet the challenges in global sustainability and to guide international development in sustainable directions, the United Nations have set the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in 2015, as successors to the Millennium Development Goals. These 17 targets include topics such as climate, hunger, poverty, education, health but also focus on specific themes such as agriculture and stimulating sustainable production and consumption.

See the website of the SDGs for all 17 targets.