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New SDC report: Looking back, looking forward

The Sustainable Development Commission is pleased to inform you of the publication of Looking back, Looking Forward: Sustainability and UK food policy 2000 - 2011: click here to view the full publication


Our final report on food matters to Government warns all four Governments of the UK not to step back from the challenge of making our food systems more sustainable, calling on them to raise their game and speed up the pace and scale of change in the light of uncertain oil prices, climate change and public health challenges.

The report reviews progress towards sustainable food policy in the UK from 2000 to 2011 - the period that reflects the lifetime of the SDC.  It draws on previous work by the SDC and others in this area and the findings of a survey of 145 experts within government, business, academia and civil society carried out during November and December 2010.  It concludes that while progress has been made, not enough has occurred to dispel our concern about failures to achieve systemic change.

Our recommendations to UK Governments include the need to:

  • work with business, civil society organisations and experts to develop ambitious Delivery Plans to support the goal of creating more sustainable UK food systems by 2030
  • Prioritise reversing the decline in UK food production, helping  expand vegetable crops sustainably and increasing UK fruit production
  • Enable the meat and dairy industry to reduce its reliance on grain feedstuffs to lower land use and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Work to create local food partnerships to harness local government, health authorities, community groups and local business to meet local sustainability goals
  • Increase efforts to reduce food waste, planning for zero food waste to landfill by 2015
  • Ensure practical food experience in schools including cooking skills and food growing
  • Reflect the cost of ensuring a nutritious and sustainable diet in minimum wage and benefit levels.
  • Mandate health and sustainability standards for all publicly procured food.

We hope that you will read the report with interest and share it with colleagues.

Kind regards
Sue Dibb and Shivani Reddy
sustainable development commission 
The independent government advisor on sustainable development