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Circularity in Europe strengthens the sustainability of the global food system

van Zanten, H.H.E.; Simon, W.; van Selm, B.; Wacker, J.; Maindl, T.I.; Frehner, A.; Hijbeek, R.; van Ittersum, M.K. and Herrero, M. (2023) Circularity in Europe strengthens the sustainability of the global food system. Nature Food, 4, pp. 320-330.

[thumbnail of vanZanten-etal-2023-NatureFood-Vol4-p220-330.pdf] PDF - English
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.


Document available online at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s43016-023-00734-9


Redesigning the European food system on the basis of circularity principles could bring environmental benefits for Europe and the world. Here we deploy a biophysical optimization model to explore the effects of adopting three circularity scenarios in the European Union (EU)27 + UK. We calculate a potential reduction of 71% in agricultural land use and 29% per capita in agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, while producing enough healthy food within a self-sufficient European food system. Under global food shortages, savings in agricultural land could be used to feed an additional 767 million people outside the EU (+149%), while reducing per capita greenhouse gas emissions by 38% but increasing overall emissions by 55% due to the increased population served. Transitioning the EU’s food system towards circularity implies sequential changes among all its components and has great potential to safeguard human and planetary health.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:food systems, greenhouse gas emissions, Foods4Future, Abacus, FiBL35217
Agrovoc keywords:
food systems
greenhouse gas emissions
Subjects: Food systems > Food security, food quality and human health
Environmental aspects > Air and water emissions
Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Sustainability > Climate
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Society > Sustainable nutrition
USA > Other organizations USA
Netherlands > Wageningen University & Research (WUR)
Deposited By: Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL
ID Code:51851
Deposited On:25 Oct 2023 12:38
Last Modified:11 Dec 2023 07:38
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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