Climate Alliance addresses EU Commission on food system links to climate change

On 28 June, Climate Alliance attracted the attention of decision makers from a wide range of EU Directorates General by pointing to the links between our food system and climate change. In an event co-organised with Slow Food, Climate Alliance sought to draw the attention of European Commission representatives to the perspectives of practitioners working on food and climate and to thus inform their decision making.  

During the event, speakers illustrated how changes in our dealings with food can help combat climate change in big ways. Emanuela Ceruti, producer of Italy’s Macagn cheese, pointed to agroecological farming methods as a powerful tool for climate change mitigation. In the case of Macagn cheese, sustainable production methods result in a more than 80% reduction in emissions as compared to conventional production methods. Christophe Rogolle of the Climate Alliance city of Ghent (BE) illustrated how food strategies can form an integral part of ambitious climate targets. Ghent’s own food strategy known as “Gent en Garde” not only brings social and economic benefits, it will help Ghent avoid food waste and save hundreds of tonnes in CO2 emissions every year in the process. Unfortunately, European legislation often presents a hurdle to effective local food strategies. Rogolle pointed to procurement rules for municipal canteens and schools, which can make including requirements for locally-sourced products in tender specifications difficult if not impossible.

The Commission Officials in attendance from the Directorates General for Climate Action, for Agriculture and Rural Development, for Environment and for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries pledged to continue a conversation with Climate Alliance with regard to reforming difficult procurement rules. The decision makers showed significant interest in the immense potential for local food production and local food strategies to cut emissions.

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Photo: Copyright City of Ghent