Our purpose

The purpose of the Sustainable Nutrition Initiative is to help create a better understanding of the food system and opportunities for improvement in order to sustainably feed the global population with the nutrients required.

A Complex System

The global food system is complex, heterogeneous and involves multiple inputs, outputs and feedback loops. Understanding it and identifying opportunities for improvement requires a comprehensive view of the whole system, including its nutritional, socio-economic and environmental dimensions.

This map describes the global food system in terms of politics, security, technology, economics, environment and many other factors.

Global Food System Map

Before we know what to think about changes to make to our diets or food supply, we need to first determine how to think about the food system:

  • Under what scenarios is it POSSIBLE for the global food system to provide the bioavailable nutrients to feed the global population?
  • What scenarios are PRACTICAL to achieve, for example in terms of level of change required, cost of that change or affordability of food?
  • What is the OPTIMAL scenario to deliver a sustainable food system?

A ‘thinking failure’ today will lead to a ‘system failure’ tomorrow.

We must thoroughly understand the problems to be solved before embarking on making changes that will be difficult and slow to introduce, and extremely challenging to reverse if we get them wrong. The global food system of the future will be shaped by the shifts in thinking that we make today.

The DELTA Model

To support this thinking we have developed a model – the DELTA Model – that aims to generate informed discussion. It can generate a wide range of possible scenarios to explore and expand thinking.