On the importance of food sustainability to stay within environmental limits.
Our food supply chain triggers 1/3 of all of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. No advancement in transportation and no energy revolution meets the potential to slow down global warming like awareness for smart food choices.
If everyone were to eat climate-friendly 3 times per week, the impact on greenhouse gas emissions would be the same as having 1/6 fewer cars on the streets. Each European's food consumption adds about 3 Tons of CO₂ to the atmosphere per year.
The most impactful answers to the Paris Climate Accord are hidden in our refrigerators and not in our garages or heating systems. If we make better choices, we can not only reduce our climate impact, but along the way we can also improve general sustainability, health, and animal welfare.
The good news is that the transition to a more sustainable food supply system is easy and it goes hand in hand with public health. Eating according to health recommendations will already reduce our climate impact by up to 35%.
Today we have 671 million people that are obese, making obesity the number one health problem in the world. Direct results include diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, joint injuries, and more. In total, 229 million disability-adjusted life years are lost worldwide, due to unhealthy diets that lead to cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes. These diseases are responsible for 70% of all deaths in Europe.
At the same time 795 million people suffer from hunger. A smart diet can secure the means to live healthy without wasting food along the way.
Globally we have enough fresh water resources, but water is not evenly distributed around the globe. Today 663 million people in the world live without clean water. This requires them to travel long distances for fresh water and affects their health as they risk diseases due to poor water quality. Further fresh water is needed to grow food. To combat this problem, we need to reduce worldwide dependency on scarce water by 50%, from 182 liters of scarce water (per day, per person) down to 91 liters.
Agriculture uses 70% of the fresh water supply, mainly for irrigation. In regions where water is scarce this is problematic.
We are left with just 17.7 Million km2 of tropical forest. It is the home to 2/3 of the world's species. It not only binds massive amounts of CO₂ from the air, it also provides fresh water resources and it sustains vital weather patterns. That is why they are called the „lungs of our planet“.
We are clearing at a rate of 150 km2 a day. Soybean and palm oil production are major drivers of deforestation. 75% of all soy is fed to animals. Every second product in the supermarket contains palm oil.
Every day over 177 million chickens, 4 million pigs, 800’000 cows and 2.8 billion fish are killed for human consumption (link). Thats why animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.
Considering the enormous industrial complex needed to sustain this production of meat, eggs and milk, we can start by improving their lives before we slaughter them.
Eaternity has developed indicators for the carbon footprint, health, land-use change, good animal treatment, seasonality and the water footprint to help the food service industry make smart choices.
With eating-out on the rise in a modern society, the food service industry is facing a key-role, contributing to a sustainable agriculture and public health. Eaternity provides tools for smart chefs to measure, track and reduce the environmental impact of their restaurants and reduce disease risk along the way. At the push of a button, chefs can access our data and get the information they need to make smart choices. Large caterers and cafeteria operators have already signed on to Eaternity, taking on the challenge of reducing food-related CO₂ emissions and contributing to a healthier society. The best among these food service establishments are awarded the Eaternity Awards.