How to Make Sustainable Diets the Norm?

Hosted by MEP Juozas Olekas

This event aims to present and reflect on recent scientific advice from the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) addressing these key questions. Two SAM reports (Evidence Review Report, and Scientific Opinion ‘Towards sustainable food consumption’) will give an impulse to a discussion on how to make sustainable diets a norm.

The current food system is a major driver of environmental impacts, especially biodiversity loss, eutrophication, water stress, land degradation and climate change. The global food system contributes approximately one-third of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. In industrialized regions like the EU, approximately half of the emissions associated with the food system come from agriculture and associated land use. The other half comes from energy-related activities downstream, including transport, processing and packing.

To address such key issues, recent scientific advice concludes that dietary guidelines should take both health and environmental sustainability angles into consideration. While these guidelines already promote healthy diets, most are not consistent with sustainability goals.

Until now, the main policy focus in the EU has been on providing consumers with more information, for them to make healthy and sustainable food choices. But this is not enough. People choose food not just through rational reflection, but also based on many other factors; food availability, habits and routines, emotional and impulsive reactions, their financial and social situation, and culture. Moreover, information about the actual impacts of individual food choices on climate, environment and social issues is not always transparent or even provided.

So what are environmentally sustainable diets? And what tools could be used at EU level to overcome the barriers preventing consumers to adopt sustainable diets?

Password to access the recording: tUs636EA


13 February 2024

14:15 – 16:00 (CET)

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Hybrid event

Open to the public, registration required


European Parliament (Room ASP 3H1)

Rue Wiertz 60, 1000 Brussels, Belgium



Dr Céline Tschirhart
Scientific Policy Officer