In its most common form, the word sustainability refers to the capacity to preserve natural resources to maintain environmental harmony. But we know that sustainability is a much more complex and multifaceted topic, where nutrition and health play a critical role. After all, sustainably feeding the estimated global population of 10 billion by 2050, will be no small feat.

Actions Large and Small: Our View on Sustainability

From our perspective, sustainability involves continuous improvements and big and small actions from all players within the public and private sectors. For example, as a Certified B Corporation, Eat Well Global upholds the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, ultimately to balance profit and purpose. We also encourage and guide our clients on how to include nutrition within their sustainability strategies. Understanding a company’s role in promoting social, economic, environmental, and nutritional aspects of sustainability, throughout the supply chain, can help them better assess their impact and develop effective goals and commitments. This can include addressing topics like cultural food preferences, workforce nutrition, affordability and accessibility of products, and global hunger and malnutrition. 

It can be daunting to keep up with all of the action in this space, which is why we offer practical information and resources, such as the Sustainable Digest, a free monthly newsletter on the sustainability landscape as it pertains to the food and nutrition sector.

What are Sustainable Diets?

Eat Well Global stands for science, taking an evidence-based approach to the work we do. When it comes to sustainable diets, we look to the official definition put forward by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO):

Sustainable Diets are those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations. Sustainable diets are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing natural and human resources.”

In the same vein, the FAO has put forth a definition of sustainable food systems that incorporates three main pillars of sustainability: economic, social, and environmental. A sustainable food system delivers food security and nutrition for all, while also safeguarding health for future generations. These same pillars drive the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives of everyone, everywhere.

The Role of Healthcare Professionals

As a team of credentialed nutrition and health professionals, Eat Well Global also recognizes the invaluable role that healthcare professionals (HCPs) play in promoting sustainable diets among the populations and individuals they serve. In January 2021, we organized Talking Sustainable Diets: Resources and Information to Guide Your Practice, a virtual workshop intended to equip food and nutrition professionals to engage with patients, clients and consumers on topics related to sustainability. This event saw record attendance from our network, highlighting the importance of this topic and the urgency needed in transitioning to sustainable food systems. 

The US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics released its Framework for Action last year in which five ‘entry points’ or high-impact avenues were identified for registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) to cultivate sustainable food systems. Those entry points are:

  1. Shape and deliver dietary guidance
  2. Improve food, nutrition, and water security
  3. Align food production and nutrition
  4. Optimize supply chains and food environments
  5. Reduce waste

HCPs play a critical role in shaping sustainable food systems. It’s important now more than ever to have their voices heard in global conversations.

How to Take Action Today

With the first ever UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) quickly approaching, we’re seeing a surge in conversations and excitement in anticipation of convening as part of the Decade of Action to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Ahead of the UNFSS, there are a range of ways for dietitians, HCPs, nutrition professionals, and food and ag experts to get involved in the sustainability conversation:

  1. Contact us! We’d love to hear your ideas on how Eat Well Global can do more or support your initiatives.
  2. Sign up for our Sustainable Digest newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest news, event recaps, and perspectives from industry leaders.
  3. Take part in the UNFSS Dialogues
  4. Register for the UNFSS taking place on September 23rd. 

Eat Well Global’s mission is to empower global change agents in food and nutrition. Achieving a more sustainable food system that provides nourishment for our global population will require action from all of us.