|Thursday, November 26|
Holistic Sustainability Assessment of Global Food Systems-Challenges, Needs and Tools with Perspective on Insects
* Alexander Mathys, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Food systems are at the heart of at least 12 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The wide scope of the SDGs calls for holistic approaches that integrate "siloed" food sustainability assessments in order to develop solutions able to change complex food systems. Despite numerous developed solutions the problems associated with the excessive use of natural resources for food production and food waste are not solved. Such problems are considered as one of the most crucial for our global food systems and sustainable development. The alliance of novel production technologies, such as insect production for food and feed, with integrated sustainability assessment in real time and further data integration into national food systems through nutritional, environmental and social indicators could be a basis for the holistic development of more sustainable food systems. For emerging insect production systems, holistic life cycle sustainability assessment, aligned with introduced process innovations, can evaluate the suggested solutions on a multi parameter base, in terms of sustainability of improved insect production. Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) in this perspective could potentially evaluate all environmental, social and economic impacts and benefits in the context of decision-making processes towards the development of sustainable products throughout their life cycle, if holistic data sets would be available. The integration of advanced sustainability assessment with nutritional properties can provide new assessments of the real value of innovative food products enabled by emerging production technologies. This allows for an improved and fair comparison between new food products against other sources, taking into consideration the respective technology readiness levels of new production processes and their economy of scale. Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as part of LCSA relies on attributional modelling for the estimation of the most impacting stages of insect production and on consequential modelling for the estimation of potential benefits or risks for the agrifood system. Performed environmental sustainability analyses of existing insect production processes largely correspond with other findings in the literature, indicating fresh insect biomass is almost twice more sustainable than fresh chicken meat. The combination of this data with social and economic sustainability impacts could strongly supports the global implementation of insect-based food and feed systems, but also other emerging and potentially more sustainable production concepts.