The latest paper led by FABLE Germany has been published in Sustainability Science, as part of the Special Issue 'Globally-Consistent National Pathways towards Sustainable Food and Land-use Systems'.
Authors: Livia Rasche, Uwe A. Schneider & Jan Steinhauser.
Food systems contribute considerably to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and influence land use. In Germany, many strategies have been proposed by policy-makers to reduce negative impacts and make the food system more sustainable. It is unclear how close the suggested policies, when bundled, will bring the food and land use system towards the targeted goals; and what stakeholders from non-policy-making organizations consider realistic changes in the German food system.
We thus surveyed different stakeholder groups on their opinions about realistic changes in the food and land use system in Germany up to 2050, developed four stakeholder pathways, and used an accounting tool to determine the effect of each pathway on indicators such as land use, GHG emissions, and biodiversity conservation potential.
The assessment showed that GHG emissions from agricultural activities and land use are reduced from 66 to − 2–22 TgCO2e by 2050, while the area where natural processes predominate increases from 19 to 27–32%, and the resilience of the food system is not negatively influenced. The change is caused mainly by a diet-change-induced reduction of livestock production and agricultural area transformation into areas with higher carbon sequestration rates.
If followed, the common stakeholder pathway (based on all stakeholder responses) would thus lead towards a sustainable food and land use system, but only if the underlying assumption of a drastic diet change towards more plant-based products comes true. Stakeholders from the academic and public sectors were more likely to assume that such a change was realistic than stakeholders from the private sector.