Healthy Food, Healthy Planet (HFHP) is a collaborative initiative of civil society organisations (CSOs) and funders united by a shared vision: align food systems with the climate targets of the Paris Agreement and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by transforming animal-source foods. European CSOs and funders started the initiative in 2020 based on a sense of urgency that without large-scale transformation, it will be impossible to meet international climate goals and the SDGs.
Today, the global food system is driving ecologically devastating production practices and a global health crisis linked to poor diets. The system contributes one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions from food systems alone, based on current trends, risk preventing the achievement of the Paris Agreement’s goals of keeping temperatures below 1.5C. Food systems are also linked to over two-thirds of global freshwater use, half of land use and to a wide range of environmental and climate-damaging impacts, including deforestation, land degradation, and water loss.
Animal-source foods cause a significant portion of these problems. Europe’s consumption of meat is twice the global average, and three times the global average for dairy consumption. Beyond that, there are many other concerns associated with industrial animal agriculture, including that it has been the cause for most infectious diseases in humans over the past decade. As a major driver of land-use change and the destruction of natural wildlife habitats, industrial agriculture is bringing wild animals into closer contact with domestic animals and people, increasing the risk of zoonotic diseases which pass from animals to humans, such as bird flu and COVID-19. Industrial agriculture is also contributing to the rising incidence of antimicrobial resistance. Meat consumption also has been linked to non-communicable diseases, like cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes. It is essential that Europe, and the rest of the world, comes to terms with the role animal agriculture plays with respect to meeting the SDGs.
Food environments — the contexts that determine the affordability, availability, convenience, and desirability of food — play a key role in determining consumption and production patterns. In Europe, food environments make bad choices easy and good choices hard, often leading to overconsumption of unsustainable, unhealthy levels of animal-source foods. Food environments also represent a key leverage point in the food system where interventions can influence both upstream production and downstream consumption practices.
HFHP believes there is an urgent need for a more coordinated, powerful movement that calls the current status quo of Europe’s food system in question and responds to citizens’ calls for healthy and sustainable food environments. The Initiative aims to both challenge and enable businesses and governments to do their part to radically transform food environments and change the role of animal-source foods within them. Advertising and marketing reform, retail sector regulation, sustainable finance, agricultural subsidy reform, subnational action, and other actions can shift consumption patterns, improving health and reducing agricultural systems’ environmental impacts.
To begin with, HFHP will focus on actors identified in our scoping phase as highly influential on food environments, yet neglected by funding and advocacy alike. These actors include food retailers, private finance actors, subnational actors, and communications and marketing actors. On top of that, the Initiative will initially concentrate on Europe, not only because of the scale of the problem in the region, but also because of Europe’s role as a trendsetter in addressing climate change and other areas of global concerns.
HFHP cannot go it alone. That is why the Initiative is dedicated to building on existing initiatives, including coalitions working on reducing the quantity and improving the quality of animal-source foods, to co-create a movement of people, organisations and funders seeking to align the food environment with the SDGs and international climate targets. Many of these initiatives, ranging from subsidy reform to livestock animal welfare, are successfully pursuing their aims. However, many focus only on local contexts, adopt single-issue approaches, or operate at too slow a pace or too small a scale to achieve the food systems transformations necessary to meet the SDGs. The magnitude of those transformations requires working across national boundaries and adopting a systemic approach.
HFHP envisions a cross-cutting, pan-European movement focused on reducing the environmental, health, and social impacts of animal-source foods. The initiative aims to achieve this goal by cultivating trust, collaboration, shared narratives, and shared infrastructure and by funding and otherwise supporting new collaborations in the food environment space. It will:
HFHP believes successful movements evolve through a process of co-creation. In autumn 2020, a group of funders and CSO representatives from France, Germany, and the UK came together to develop a workplan for the HFHP. The initiative held initial workshops to develop a strategic framework and is now broadening the co-creation process to engage with and gather inputs from a wider range of stakeholders across Europe. In summer 2021, HFHP will establish the foundation for a movement and funding strategy based on this process.
The initial work included representatives from the following groups:
Eating Better UK
Reseau Action Climat France
European Public Health Alliance
Climate and Land Use Alliance
Heinrich Boll Stiftung
Daniel et Nina Carasso Fondation