Fresh vegetables on market stall

The food we produce and eat is putting our planet’s natural environment under stress.
These stresses include:   

  • the greenhouse gas emissions created during the production and distribution of food
  • cutting down forests so food can be grown or cattle can graze – affecting wildlife and habitats in sensitive regions such as the Amazon and the Cerrado regions of Brazil
  • Seafood demand is growing; coastal zones have been destroyed for fish farms and fish stocks are low
  • water used for growing crops, which affects sensitive environments.

In the UK, the food we eat – growing, producing and importing it – has a massive impact around the world and is responsible for 30% of our CO2 emissions (including emissions resulting from deforestation/land-use change).

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What is WWF doing about it?

If we're to achieve a future where people and nature thrive together, we need to reconsider the types of food we eat in the UK and where and how our food is produced.

We are working with and influencing key players in the UK food industry – including retailers, producers, food processors, governments and charities – to transform the way UK food is supplied.

This will involve looking at a variety of issues, including addressing what we eat, the way food is produced , how it is financed and the way the food sector is governed.

We're also working internationally to create sustainable solutions for key commodities – such as seafood, soya, beef or palm oil – which threaten particularly important habitats and species.

Find out more:

Catering for Sustainability

WWF-UK, Sodexo UK & Ireland and the Food Ethics Council have produced the report, Catering for Sustainability, which sets out a clear business case for sustainable meals – and shows that adopting sustainable menus can improve business revenues and profits, and mitigate supply chain risks.

In the UK 43.6% of all expenditure on food and drink is spent on out of home catering. In 2015 this equated to £87.4 billion. Given its size and reach the food service industry is affected by the global food system and is vulnerable to health, economic and environmental challenges.

Sustainable diets are a key part of the future of the food service sector. This report is the first time anyone has demonstrated the beneficial nature of sustainable diets to the business and their customers.

Read the full report here.

The challenge

How do we reduce the impact of the food we consume and feed the world's growing population?

Over a quarter of the world’s population do not have enough food, over 40% of the world’s grain harvest is fed to livestock. Predominantly meat-based diets, like we have in the UK, are very inefficient. Farming animals for meat and dairy requires huge inputs of land and water for growing animal feed – on average, 6kg of plant protein is required to produce just 1kg of meat protein.

If we want to protect our natural environment, we will need to reconsider not only how we produce our food but also what we eat.

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Featured food reports

Catering for Sustainability report Food Sustainability Report 2015 Executive Summary front cover Document cover for 'Prime cuts: valuing the meat we eat' summary Front cover for the report 'A 2020 vision for the global food system'

If you want to see more WWF publications on food please visit our publications library