According to the Food Sustainability Index, France has maintained its position in first place for food sustainability for the third consecutive year. The Food Sustainability Index, created and ran by The Economist Intelligence Unit and the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition, is a useful tool used to compare policies internationally.

This global chart of nations analyzes 67 countries’ methods of production and consumption, representing 90% of global GDP and about 4/5 of the population.

For the third consecutive year, France has placed first in the ranking, followed by the Netherlands and Canada. As indicated in the map below, the top countries were mostly developed and Western countries, while Rwanda and Colombia also performed well.

Map taken from the Food Sustainability Index 2018, which can be consulted at www.foodsustainability.eiu.com.

Further down in the ranking, you can find countries like the United Kingdom (24), the United States (26), Italy (28), and Luxembourg (29), all placing after China (23). The countries placing at the bottom of the list are the United Arab Emirates, followed by Bulgaria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa.

The final score of each country is calculated based on 40 indicators, divided into three broad categories: food loss and waste, sustainable agriculture, and nutritional challenges. France placed first in the food waste category, with the report noting that the country is “without a doubt at the forefront when it comes to policies and measures aiming to reduce losses”. For example, the 2016 law on the combat against food waste requires large food distribution companies like supermarket chains to stop throwing out edible food. While not placing first in the other categories, France also ranked highly in sustainable agriculture and nutritional challenges.

Before 2050, the world will have to feed ten billion people all while keeping climate change to below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Yet the global food system is responsible for one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions, according to recent conclusions from a report of the InterAcademy Partnership.

To respect the commitments made in the Paris climate agreement, it will thus become necessary to radically adjust the infrastructure and processes dedicated to feeding the population in order to make them ecologically viable in the long-term.