Sustainable and Healthy

Working together towards a sustainable food system

Background and request for advice

In the long term, Dutch climate targets will inevitably lead to a lower permissible livestock production capacity and a change in diet. The Dutch government should prepare for this transition by adopting a new food policy that will minimise the negative consequences and take advantage of the opportunities that will arise. This is the conclusion of the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli) in its advisory report ‘Sustainable and Healthy’, which was presented today to Carola Schouten, Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, and Paul Blokhuis, the State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport.

Photo of various vegetables
Photo: EyeEm Hollandse Hoogte

The key question addressed in the report is what must be done to speed up the transition to a healthy and sustainable food system. The Council’s report focuses on animal products, because their production and consumption make a significant contribution to climate change and to public health and environmental problems.

Recommendations

Rli makes three main recommendations:

Provide clarity on future emission ceilings for livestock farming

In view of the national climate targets, provide clarity on emissions ceilings for livestock farming in 2030 and 2050 as soon as possible. Translate this into a system of emission rights that will be reduced over time.

Negotiate with the provincial governments on how policy instruments and resources can be used most effectively to resolve the remaining environmental and public health problems in regions with high concentrations of livestock.

Work towards sustainable consumption patterns

Set a target of reducing animal protein consumption to 40% of total protein in the diet by 2030. A healthy and sustainable diet contains proportionally less animal protein and more plant protein.

Enlist value chain parties to make production and consumption more sustainable

Work with value chain parties to support healthy and sustainable production and consumption and to develop the market for plant-based protein products.

The required transition in the Dutch food system can be compared with the way national and European agricultural policy brought about food security in the post-war years, which resulted in the leading international position enjoyed by the Dutch agricultural sector. The task of greening the food system now before us provides an excellent opportunity to again unite farmers, the food processing industry, the retail sector and consumers – but this time with the aim of creating a healthy and sustainable food system.

Publication

On 3 April the advisory report ‘Sustainable and Healthy – Working together towards a sustainable food system’ was presented to Carola Schouten, Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, and Paul Blokhuis, State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport. The report was also presented to Eric Wiebes, Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Kasja Ollongren, Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Stientje van Veldhoven, State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management, and the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Overhandiging advies
Minister Carole Schouten (Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality) and State Secretary Paul Blokhuis (Health, Welfare and Sport), being presented with the advisory report ‘Sustainable and Healthy – Working together towards a sustainable food system’ on 3 April 2018 – photo by Fred Ernst.

See the photos of the presentation of the advisory report ‘Sustainable and Healthy – Working together towards a sustainable food system’

More information

For further information on this advice, please contact Hannah Koutstaal, project leader: hannah.koutstaal@rli.nl

The English translation of the advisory report 'Sustainable and Healthy: Working together towards a sustainable food system' will be available soon.