KNOWLEDGE MAP Back to overview

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

Food & Sustainability

What are the obstacles related to the development of knowledge?

In the development of sustainability knowledge, issues are the difficulty in measuring individual products on sustainability, and the fact that (scientific) knowledge is highly dispersed.

Measuring individual products

Although dietary patterns and products are often measured at their level of sustainability, such as with the aid of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), such analyses usually look at the average environmental pressure of ingredients, without making a distinction between different producers, processors and supermarkets. Often this information is not available in detail or companies prefer not to share it. There is thus a need for a comprehensive and simple model for comparing the sustainability of individual products.

FNLI (2012), p. 1-4.

Developments in knowledge sharing

Although research into nutrition and sustainability has been conducted for decennia, scientific networks are in many ways still underdeveloped. Relatively new topics such as food waste, circular economy and natural capital still do not have generally accepted definitions and measurement methods. In the case of food waste, it is nearly impossible to make comprehensive measurements of waste throughout the food chain, due to the variety of sources and sinks of waste, colliding interests of various parties and an underdeveloped knowledge network.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (2011), p. 2.