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From individual actions to systems change, food is getting more attention on the climate change agenda than ever before. How can the Nordics affect the change needed to make healthy and climate-friendly diets a part of the globalized food system?
This episode of the Think Nordic! Podcast series takes a closer look at Nordic diets and the global food systems they are part of. The podcast is taped live in front of an audience at the Nordic Pavilion at COP24 in Katowice, Poland, with insights from the Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, Isabella Lövin; David Nabarro who is the Strategic Director of 4SD and former Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Sustainable Development and Climate Change; and Norwegian youth delegate, Mari Hasle Einang.
Dumpster-diving in Oslo tells the story of a broken system
“I go dumpster-diving in Oslo and you wouldn’t believe how much perfectly edible food is being thrown away every day. We need to address food waste and people need to realize just how massive the problems of our food system are,” says Mari Hasle Einang. According to her, young people are becoming more conscious about their consumer choices when it comes to food.
“It is very encouraging to hear that young people are taking active choices towards addressing food waste and eating less meat. Actually, the consumption of meat has gone down in Sweden in recent years, but that comes after a vast increase over decades,” says Isabella Lövin. Food is closely linked to climate change both in terms of the CO2 footprint of our food and in terms of food production vulnerability due to changing weather patterns. Add to this the negative health-effects of our current diets and we have an interlinked and complex problem on our hands.
Collaboration is key to create sustainable food systems
At the COP24, food was firmly placed on the climate change agenda at the Nordic Pavilion as a global challenge that can only be solved through collaboration. “One billion people in the world are not eating enough and, equally, one billion people are eating too much. The system is out of balance and it has tremendous social and environmental consequences,” explains David Nabarro and adds that policy makers need to focus on consumers, production, and environment to create more sustainable food systems.
Nordic foods solutions can serve as inspiration both when it comes to its successes and failures. “We need to ensure the developing countries do not repeat the mistakes that we have made. For instance, organic production should be scaled up just as we are seeing in the Nordics these days,” says Isabella Lövin.
But the learning should not be a one-way street “In developing countries, you often have more sustainable diets and less food waste. This is of course also linked to lower consumption levels, but I still think there’s a lot we can learn from each other,” concludes Mari Hasle Einang.
Listen to the full podcast to learn more about nudging, packaging, the role of small-scale farmers, and much more. You can find the Think Nordic! Podcast wherever you find your podcast or just listen at the top of this page.