The Food Sustainability Index (FSI), developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) with the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) Foundation, ranks countries on food system sustainability based off of three pillars: food loss and waste, sustainable agriculture, and nutritional challenges.
“A food system does not sit in isolation, and a large number of stakeholders act together according to dynamics created by specific drivers,” say researchers Francesca Allievi, Marta Antonelli, and Katarzyna Dembska, who worked on the Food Sustainability Index with the BCFN Foundation. This causes increasing complexity at the regional, national, continental, and global level, they explain. Trying to assess the interaction among its parts creates a high level of these creating a high level of uncertainty when trying to assess the interaction among its parts.”
Released in 2016, the FSI aims to encourage policymakers to place food and its production issues as high-priority items in their policy agendas. BCFN has since released two Food Sustainability Reports: “Climate Change and Famine: Issues at the Heart of International Awareness,” which focused on climate change, food security, and food safety; and “Environmental, Food and Migration Sustainability: Three Challenges To Overcome Together,” raising awareness about crucial issues surrounding food and sustainability. Both reports were a joint effort between BCFN and the Milan Center for Food Law and Policy.
According to the FSI, The world population is projected to reach 8.1 billion by 2025. Ninety-five percent of this growth will come from developing countries, many of which are dealing with the double burden of hunger and rising obesity. Meanwhile, climate change is presenting new challenges to the agriculture sector. By highlighting performance of different countries and identifying best practices, the index establishes a comparable benchmark for leaders around the world to reference and measure their progress in establishing a sustainable food system.
The FSI is publicly available. Data can be accessed in the form of a map or a country ranking, and the full dataset can be downloaded. Through this approach, the FSI can serve as a tool for policymakers and experts to take action, students to be educated, and the public to adjust their behavior for the well-being of our health and our planet.
“The objectives of the FSI are not only to highlight the performance of countries, but to establish a comparable benchmark, to offer examples of best practices at the national and city levels, and to measure progress over time,” say the researchers.