G20 countries must take the lead in further reducing food loss and waste and improving diets and agriculture ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit, according to the authors of the Food Sustainability Index (FSI).
The FSI, developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (BCFN), found that most countries have "room for improvement" except for Canada and Japan, which are in the top quartile of performance in all three indicators.
Other leading performers include Australia, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. The United States, on the other hand, was ranked among the worst performers for excessive meat consumption and agricultural land conversion practices.
Indonesia and Saudi Arabia were the worst performers in all indicators.
Martin Koehring, EIU regional head for sustainable development, climate change and natural resources (Europe, Middle East region and Africa), said, "The G20's member countries generate 80 percent of the world's economic output while also emitting 75 percent of global greenhouse gases, giving these countries not only the opportunity but the responsibility to lead the way toward food sustainability , but also have a responsibility."
FSI reveals global progress in reducing food waste by 931 million tons per year, but no country has ever published a plan to account for losses or monitor strategies to reduce food waste.
The authors also address the U.S. diet in particular, where the average U.S. consumer consumes nearly 250 grams more meat per day than the recommended amount.
The report cites evidence that adherence to government dietary guidelines would reduce premature deaths by 15 percent and emissions by 13 percent, and highlights the UK's "Five portions a day" campaign to increase fruit and vegetable intake by 10 percent.
The FSI shows that all G20 countries have dietary guidelines, but only four countries have integrated sustainability into their healthy eating targets. While 13 countries have strict new climate action targets, only Indonesia and Canada have included agriculture in their national plans.
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