Press release: Göttingen professors share their expert opinions on more sustainable nutrition
No. 107 - 21.08.2020
Germany’s Scientific Advisory Board for Agricultural Policy, Food and Consumer Health Protection (WBAE) submits recommendations to the Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture
Germany’s Scientific Advisory Board for Agricultural Policy, Food and Consumer Health Protection (WBAE), an interdisciplinary body that advises the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture on a voluntary basis about policy development, today presents its new report “Promoting more sustainable food consumption: Developing an integrated food policy and creating fair food environments” to Federal Minister Julia Klöckner in Bonn. In it, the WBAE formulates nine central recommendations for the transformation of the food system. These recommendations are oriented towards the four central targets of more sustainable nutrition, known as the "Big Four": health, social issues, environment and animal welfare.
Recommendations include the gradual introduction of free high-quality childcare and school meals, the abolition of the VAT rate concession on animal products, the introduction of a new excise tax on sugar-containing drinks and the introduction of a mandatory climate label for all food. The report shows that the public debate is too often dominated by symbolic political arguments, for example about plastic bags, instead of key environmental policy issues such as the need for a significant reduction in the consumption of animal products. In comparison with other countries, Germany is a latecomer in terms of developing its food policy. The WBEA report said that responsibility was being transferred too much to individual consumers; politicians must intervene and support the promotion of sustainable behaviour more strongly.
Three professors from the University of Göttingen - Professor Achim Spiller and Professor Matin Qaim from the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, together with Professor José Martínez from the Institute of Agricultural Law - played a significant role in the development of this report. "In the complex field of nutrition policy, which is characterised by strong lobbying influences, a cautious nutrition policy is the wrong signal," says Spiller, who co-directed the report.
The central themes of the report are also reflected by the research conducted at the University of Göttingen. Among other topics, Professor Spiller is working on the options to reduce meat consumption in the interdisciplinary joint project "Vegetable-oriented eating habits as the key to sustainability" (NES). Professor Qaim conducts intensive research on combating global malnutrition and on questions of sustainable agriculture. Professor Martínez studies in-depth the legal framework of a more sustainable food system (with a focus on environmental and animal protection and competition law).
Report from Germany’s Scientific Advisory Board for Agricultural Policy, Food and Consumer Health Protection (WBAE) “Promoting more sustainable food consumption: Developing an integrated food policy and creating fair food environments” Executive summary is available online - https://www.bmel.de/EN/ministry/organisation/advisory-boards/AgriculturalPolicyPublications.html
Professor Achim Spiller
University of Göttingen
Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development
Marketing for Food and Agricultural Products
Platz der Göttinger Sieben 5, 37073 Göttingen
Tel: +49 (0)151-42482716