Sustain supports calls for a climate- and nature-friendly food system

The Sustain alliance is using the day of the Climate Strike, 20th September 2019, to renew calls for a climate- and nature-friendly food system, and to commit to doing all we can to cultivate the changes needed.

How and what we farm and fish, eat and dispose of are some of the biggest contributors to dangerous climate change and precipitous loss of nature. In the UK, over 70% of the land area is used for farming, over 30% of greenhouse gas emissions arise from the food system, and a third of the food that is produced goes to waste. Intensive farming and fishing practices are the main drivers of biodiversity loss on land and at sea, meaning that fixing the food, farming and fishing system is one of the key ways to avert climate change and restore nature.

In 2019, Sustain has joined others in declaring a 'climate and nature emergency'. Working with our alliance members and Sustainable Food Cities around the UK we are committed to helping translate local declarations of emergency into promoting climate- and nature-friendly farming and sustainable land use; improving and shortening food supply chains; promoting sustainable diets; and radically reducing food waste. These are key areas where large-scale action can also reap rewards in terms of reducing and sequestering greenhouse gas emissions, and taking the pressure off nature so that natural systems can recover.

Find out more about Sustain’s approach to climate and nature emergency at:

Sustain works with hundreds of national organisations targeting national policy and business change, and also helped found the Eating Better alliance to champion ‘less and better’ meat and dairy, in recognition that the intensively reared livestock and the world’s growing demand for meat and dairy are having a devastating effect on climate and nature.

We are publishing this news item on the day that millions of people are joining the Climate Strike. We have been inspired by Greta Thunberg and the school strike movement and feel a great responsibility to all young people, to help protect and restore the natural systems that feed us, and agree with the Environmental Audit Committee's analysis this week that, "Everything we do to the planet, we do to ourselves". Several Sustain staff members and volunteers will be joining the Climate Strike day of action. Those who do not join in person will be there in spirit and use this day to re-double our efforts to promote the economic, policy and legislative conditions for better food, farming and fishing to thrive and accelerate into the mainstream. Our food and future depend on it.

Sustain is working on a wide range of activities relevant to climate and nature emergency. One current area of work is to help develop guidance for cities on actions that city authorities and food partnerships can take to help tackle climate and nature emergency through food, in support of Sustainable Food Cities. Get in touch if you’d like to know more:

“We do need hope, of course we do. But the one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere.”
Greta Thunberg, school strike instigator and climate change activist





Climate Change and Nature


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Climate Change and Nature: Sustain has taken a keen interest in the rapidly accumulating evidence about the effect of food and farming on climate change and nature, as scientific evidence emerges that our food system is a very significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss.

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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

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