SDGs, the dutiful transformations for the food supply chain


Nature publishes a study on how to approach the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through 6 transformations. (1) The food supply chain retains a central position and it is the responsibility of its players-including consumAtors-to guide it toward sustainability paradigms. From seed to fork, from feed to fork.

6 transformations to get closer to the SDGs, the study in Nature

The multidisciplinary studySix Transfomations to Achieve the Sustainable DevelopmentGoals’ – to which Italian economist Mariana Mazzucato, among others, contributed – offers a kind of vademecum to the Sustainable Development Goals. To which one could approach by following six evolutionary paths:

1) education, gender and inequality,

2) health, welfare and demographics,

3) Energy decarbonization and industrial sustainability,

4) Sustainability in the food chain, land and water management,

5) Sustainable cities and towns,

6) Digital revolution geared toward sustainable development.

The UN 2030 Agenda is based on an undoubtedly valuable representation of the global scenario, in linking data emerging from multiple sources and highlighting the dysfunctions that plague society. However, its implementation is left to the free choices of the 193 member states and the European Union. Who, in the four years since the Agenda’s adoption, do not appear to have done anything to move closer to its goals.

For further discussion, please refer to the previous article published on the Égalité website.

Food supply chain and SDGs, the transformations needed

The study by Mazzucato et al. on Nature places the food supply chain at the center of the social transformations required to approach the Sustainable Development Goals. And it is precisely the reference to 9 of the Key Goals that highlights this centrality. Some insights to follow:

SDG 3, ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Ensuring health and well-being means first and foremost ensuring every human being’s access to safe and wholesome food, (2)

SDG 4, ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Ensure quality education on the role of food in health and its values. Through educational farms and urban gardens, peasant agriculture, organic school canteens and green procurement,

SDG 5, achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Ensure gender equality, including in labor sectors such as agriculture, especially peasant agriculture,

SDG 6, ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Ensureuniversal access to safe water and sanitation,

SDG 7, ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Ensuring clean and reliable energy. Forcing food industries to use them as well, rather than contributing to climate change by relying on fossil sources of energy,

SDG 8, promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. Ensure fair working conditions and economic growth. Prioritizing sustainable sourcing, traceable supply chains and respect for labor law,

SDG 11, make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Making cities and communities sustainable and resilient, including in terms of food procurement, consumption and waste,

SDG 14, Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources. Protect underwater life by ensuring products obtained through sustainable fisheries. To this could be added a reminder of the unresolved issue of microplastic pollution of all water resources, starting with the seas,

SDG 15, protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. Protect life on earth by putting in place measures to protect terrestrial ecosystems in the face of deliberate deforestation actions.

Food supply chain and sustainability, #Buycott! palm oil, GMO soy, and overseas meats

The food supply chain plays a primary role in the economies of many countries; its foodstuffs are always essential to all populations. The impact of food systems and their respective policies on the lives of communities is therefore substantial. There is no hunger or thirst without extreme poverty, and only a systemic approach will mitigate the intolerable planetary asymmetry. Sustainable food production and consumption thus play a key role in the social and ecological crisis that continues to exacerbate inequality. Between countries in the global North and South, but also within countries themselves.

In fact, the #Buycott! campaign palm oil, GMO soybeans and meats from the American continent aspires first and foremost to raise awareness and responsibility among consumers-and thus, supply chain operators, from animal husbandry to large-scale retail outlets-about raw materials that derive from bloody and incendiary supply chains. This applies first and foremost topalm oil and GMO soybeans, which have been the leading cause of land robbery(land grabbing) at the planetary level for decades.

As for overseas meats, just think of the animals raised on deforested lands in the Amazon, Cerrado and Gran Chaco. Rather than those doped with growth hormones and banned drugs and those forced into cannibalism.
Dario Dongo

(1) Sachs, J.D., Schmidt-Traub, G., Mazzucato, M., Messner, D., Nakicenovic, N., Rockström, J. Six transformations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Nature Sustainability volume 2, pages 805-814 (2019).
(2) Ensuring universal access to safe and balanced food as well as safe drinking water and sanitation is the subject of SDG 2, Zero hunger, SDG 2, Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, respectively