UK playing catch-up on food sustainability

06 December 2017

The 2017 Food Sustainability Index (FSI) uses 58 indicators to measure performance across food waste and loss, sustainable agriculture and nutrition.

Highlights from the report are:

  • The UK just about scraped into the top 10 for this year’s 2017 Food Sustainability Index, coming in 10th out of 34 countries behind France, Japan, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Portugal, Italy, South Korea and Hungary.
  • Of the 10 European countries in the FSI, the UK came in eighth – ahead only of Russia and Greece.
  • When it comes to sustainable agriculture – one of the three areas that made up the FSI – the UK ranked a miserable 20th out of 34 countries, behind countries like Ethiopia, Russia, Greece and Mexico.
  • The UK also scored poorly on agricultural subsidies and the diversification of agricultural systems, though it ranked first for the only farm animal welfare indicator used in the FSI - the ‘quality of animal welfare regulation’.
  • The UK performed better on food waste and loss, ranking seventh out of 34 countries after achieving a high score for its policy response to food waste -
  • Though it was let down by a lack of solutions to distribution-level losses.
  • It came in eighth place on nutritional challenges, with red flags raised on over-nourishment and the number of fast food restaurants per person.
  • According to the index, the UK was also the worst-performing European country for adult obesity, ranking 24th out of 34 – as well as being one of the lowest scorers on childhood obesity.
  • We scored relatively well on water issues, such as the environmental impact of agriculture and the sustainability of fisheries. However, we ranked 32nd out of 34 on net imports of virtual blue water from crop and animal products – suggesting our diets are putting a big drain on global water resources.
  • The UK has no national agriculture policy that deals with climate change. It doesn’t even have a government department dedicated to climate change any more. So when it comes to climate change mitigation, we scored a big fat zero.

The Food Ethics Council has also published a summary of the report.


Leon Ballin
Sustainable Food Cities

Sustainable Food Cities is a partnership programme run by

Soil Association

Food Matters

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Sustainable Food Cities is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

astropay bozdurmak istiyorum