Law and policy can support sustainable diets

Rebecca Williams
Nature Communications Earth and Environment
Resource type:
Peer review

Global diets need to become more sustainable if we are to tackle the climate crisis. The livestock sector generates 14.5% of all human-induced greenhouse gas emissions according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, with beef and cattle milk production contributing 41% and 20% of the sector’s emissions, respectively. At the same time, 40% of the world’s population are projected to undergo the livestock revolution by 2050 as global incomes rise, leading to increased demand for livestock products. Structural shifts in our food systems and dietary patterns are needed to secure climate change mitigation and meet the Paris Agreement’s goals. Encouraging dietary change in society is often perceived to be embedded in social or cultural norms, and beyond the scope of the law. However, this perspective underestimates the historical role of law and policy in shaping the current global food system and national dietary choices. Here the author argues that increased levels of legal and policy intervention (particularly in wealthy countries) can help address the future sustainability of the global diet.

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This resource has been peer reviewed