Getting politicians to commit to sustainable food for all

September 8th 2014

Anna Richert

Anna Richert

Sustainable food is on the Swedish political agenda. So, as Sweden prepares for the general election on 14 September, WWF Sweden took the opportunity to ask all the political parties three questions related to food. Their answers were captured in our “Panda ranking” which has been available on our website since mid-August.

The Panda ranking has allowed us to test the political parties’ willingness to develop a sustainable food strategy. Today no such strategy exists; yet, all parties have at some point during the pre-election campaign expressed their willingness to create one if elected.

However, our food strategy question put to them included this addendum:

Can your party subscribe to developing a national strategy for sustainable food, where one of the goals is to halve the Swedish meat consumption in order to lower the ecological footprint of food?

Decreased meat consumption is a controversial issue for politicians. In this respect, it’s gratifying that no less than five of the nine parties endorsed the challenge of developing a food strategy which includes halving meat consumption!

The Panda ranking ©WWF

The Panda ranking ©WWF

All red-green parties as well as the Liberal Party support halving our meat consumption. The Green Party as well as the Left Party set an interim goal for 2020 of lowering meat consumption by 25%. And two of the parties that did not support WWF Sweden’s call for halved meat consumption – right wing Centre Party and the Moderate Party – are either in favour of lowered meat consumption in principle (Moderate Party) or actively promoting a sustainable food strategy (Centre Party).

Also, all parties – except the extreme right wing Sweden Democrats – support WWF’s call for a more active role for the National Consumer Agency to give people guidance to sustainable food consumption habits. This is very encouraging. Traditionally, liberal and conservative parties often reject such thoughts with the argument that lifestyle choices are an individual matter and not a responsibility for political consideration.

Finally, we believe public procurement is an important lever in the transition to sustainable food production. Local government procures food for billions of dollars and may be a strong impact force. Therefore, it is very positive that all the parties support WWF’s call to develop advice for municipalities and county councils wishing to set tougher environmental standards in their food procurement.

As a whole, the Panda ranking gave a positive picture, and it seems as though we’ll have an interesting couple of years ahead, working on Sweden’s food strategy. LiveWell will be an important basis for our coming work to ensure our politicians deliver on their promises!

Anna Richert

Project Manager Sustainable Food for All – WWF-Sweden

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