© WWF-Australia

Grains in hand © WWF-Australia

Food

What's cooking in your kitchen tonight and what did it take to produce those ingredients? While you probably know how much they cost in dollar terms, have you considered the environmental cost of the food you eat?

Around the globe, food production, distribution, consumption and waste threaten wildlife, water resources and climate stability. The world's 7.3 billion people currently consume more than 1.6 times what the Earth can supply sustainably and we will need to produce 70% more food to feed an estimated 9.7 billion people by 2050.

So how do we curb our impacts on the planet while feeding more people? How do we stop eating ourselves out of house and home? 

We're lifting the lid on how food is produced, traded and consumed. And we're championing "planet-friendly" alternatives that are good for nature and good for people – sustainable food that’s healthy, tasty and certified sustainable, or demonstrably on a pathway to sustainability.

By working with food producers, companies, governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the Australian public, WWF is demonstrating how sustainable food production and consumption can be more kind to the planet that sustains us. Food for thought indeed.

Priority Foods

With your support, WWF-Australia is working on a number of priority foods to conserve nature, minimise waste and ensure our food system is resilient to environmental change.

 

Why it matters

While food is fundamental to our lives, food production and waste is a leading cause of environmental harm. This is why finding solutions that promote sustainable food production are so important.

 

Fruit and vegetables being sold at La Cocha, Colombia Northern Andes Ecoregion © Diego M. Garces / WWF

WHAT WE'RE DOING

 

Produce more with lessLocal food for sale at a shop in Cley Next the Sea, Norfolk, UK. Buying local produce helps to cut down massively on food miles. © Global Warming Images / WWF
To feed the world sustainably we need to produce more food with fewer resources. That’s why WWF-Australia works with partners to improve the production of everyday foods with the largest environmental impact. These include beef, sugar canepalm oil and seafood (both wild and farmed). Our goal is to help producers identify and adopt practices that are both more sustainable and more profitable.
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Sourcing sustainably
Knowing where and how food is produced gives businesses and consumers the information they need to make sustainable choices. Tracing products along supply chains provides assurances that environmental credentials are credible. WWF works hard to develop and promote independent, scientifically credible standards, certification and traceability systems for everyday foods. In Australia, responsibly grown sugar cane is certified by Bonsucro, while products containing sustainable palm oil are certified under the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, wild-caught seafood is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, and farmed seafood by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.

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Grape from David Bruer vineyard in Langhorne Creek, South Australia © WWF-Aus / Jim FilmerFood choices
Choosing certified sustainable food when shopping or dining out is a simple way to support planet-friendly food production and sourcing. Shopping responsibly sends retailers a strong message that the way the food is produced is just as important as its quality and cost. Ideally, we’d like to get to the point where all food is guaranteed to be sustainable. In the meantime, there are many ways you can choose planet-friendly food.
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Reducing food waste
The amount of food wasted each year around the world is sufficient to feed three billion people. All that water, energy and care is simply trashed. In Australia, more than half of all food waste occurs at the point of consumption, including plate waste in restaurants and food rotting in our fridges. We're working with businesses, governments and consumers to help everyone reduce food waste, especially at the point of consumption.
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Governing and financing food
The sustainability of food production depends on many factors. Soils and climate are obviously important, alongside technology and market forces, such as certifications. But the sustainability of our food system also depends on land- and water-use plans and regulations enforced by governments, infrastructure design, and sound lending and investment decisions by banks and asset managers. WWF-Australia believes that the natural resources and financial capital allocated to food production must be managed more transparently, with full consideration of social, environmental and economic impacts.

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Recommended Reading

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© Sian Breen / WWF-Aus

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