There is growing and unprecedented recognition of the adverse effects of food systems on global warming, air and water pollution, biodiversity, soil, and managing the emergence and spread of infectious diseases. At the same time, concern is rising over the role of climate change itself in compromising food security, supply-chain resilience and food price spikes.
Against this backdrop, the need for agriculture to become more ‘sustainable’ is clear. However, there is little consensus over what that means in practice. To address this, Chatham House is launching a new research paper comparing and contrasting the two most commonly articulated versions of ‘sustainable agriculture’.
The first focuses on sparing land for nature and increasing the productivity of agricultural land while minimizing environmental impacts. The second involves scaling up nature-friendly farming while emphasizing demand-side changes to reduce the overall pressure on land.
How can we understand the arguments in support of either version and the assumptions and ideologies which underpin them?
What are the implications of promoting one version of agriculture over the other
How can policy transform agriculture and food systems?
What should civil society support as ‘sustainable’ choices?