Sustainable Food – A Systems Approach for EU Policy


The EU is predicted to remain a net food importer for the next 30 years and creating a secure and sustainable system for the production of safe, nutritious and affordable food is both a critical European and global challenge. Our current food system is beset by multiple problems; unacceptable levels of food waste; significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions; chronic soil depletion and recurrent food scares.

At this event, we will examine the need for a systems approach to EU food policy including the tensions between agro-ecological approaches and advocates of ‘sustainable intensification’, the need for enhanced biodiversity and steady crop yields, new systems for environmental land management and public engagement in this process. Our wider picture will consider how EU agricultural trade policy and trade governance will need to be reconsidered in order to play a positive role in creating an EU-wide sustainable food system. Our proposed system needs concerted action across governments, an interdisciplinary approach, and collaborative policy solutions.

The White Rose Universities of Leeds, Sheffield, and York have key expertise in the benefits of creating sustainable food systems and this event will present their policy recommendations from a UK and EU perspective. Our expert Panel will hear contributions from Professor Sue Hartley OBE, Director of the University of York Environmental Sustainability Institute and former advisor to the European Food Safety Authority and the European Commission on the ecological effects of genetically modified crops; Professor Peter Jackson, Co-Director of the University of Sheffield Institute for Sustainable Food and chair of the current SAM Expert Working Group for the Evidence Review ‘Towards an EU Sustainable Food System’; and Professor Fiona Smith, in International Economic Law at the University of Leeds and invited expert for the DG SANTE Working Group on EU Food Safety in Nutrition in 2050. The Panel will be chaired by Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands from the University of Leeds, with an EC response from Dyanne Bennink, acting Head of the Bioeconomy and Food Systems Unit of the Healthy Planet Directorate (tbc).

After the Panel, there will be Q&A and discussion of the research and its application to future policy. A networking reception from 1700 will conclude our event.


Nov 19 2019


15:00 - 18:00

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Nov 19 2019
  • Time: 09:00 - 12:00


Renaissance Brussels Hotel


White Rose Brussels
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