30 % of global emissions come from food systems1
1/3 of all food produced is wasted2
14 cities have pledged to reinvent their food systems by 2030

About this sector

Our global food system is broken: one third of all food is wasted, yet many people around the world suffer from food insecurity. Food is among the largest drivers of the global climate crisis. Food insecurity is also one of the biggest impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most of the world’s food is consumed in urban areas, giving cities the power to deliver transformative change. C40 works with cities to develop healthy, equitable and accessible food systems that also reduce food loss and waste. 

Through the C40 Good Cities Declaration, 14 cities from around the world have signed on to deliver sustainable food policies and achieve a ‘Planetary Health Diet’ for all by 2030. Learn more about the Good Food Cities Declaration.

The Food Systems Network

The C40 Food Systems Network supports citywide efforts to create and implement integrated food policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase resilience, and deliver positive public health benefits outcomes. The network is led by the City of Milan and delivered in partnership with the EAT Foundation.

Focus areas:
  • Food Procurement
    Using procurement for public facilities such as school canteens, hospitals, elderly homes and civic buildings to foster more sustainable and healthy diets.
  • Food Environment
    Transforming the social and physical environment that affect the types of food available within neighbourhoods, the affordability of food and the nutrition information that people have access to. This includes food marketing to encourage and inform better consumer choices.
  • Food Waste
    Addressing food loss and waste to facilitate the recovery and redistribution of food for people in need and also implement solutions for the reuse of food waste.
  • Regenerative agriculture
    Promoting regenerative urban agriculture to increase food security, decrease production emissions and close yield gaps.
  • Governance
    Supporting cities to develop food strategies, include food systems in their climate action plans and food boards and councils for inter-departmental and external coordination.

The Food Systems Network has had a fundamental role in the success of the C40 Good Food Cities Declaration, where leading cities helped develop the ambition of science-based targets. The commitment was launched at the 2019 C40 Global Mayors Summit and co-signed by 14 cities who agreed to work with their residents towards achieving a ‘Planetary Health Diet’ for all by 2030, with balanced and nutritious food, reflective of the culture, geography, and demography of their residents. These goals are met by delivering the following measures:

  • Align food procurement to the Planetary Health Diet, ideally sourced from organic agriculture
  • Support an overall increase of healthy, plant-based food consumption in cities by shifting away from unsustainable, unhealthy diets
  • Reduce food loss and waste by 50% from a 2015 baseline
  • Within two years of endorsing this declaration, work with residents, businesses, public institutions, and other organizations to develop a joint strategy for implementing these measures and achieving these goals inclusively and equitably, and incorporating this strategy into Climate Action Plans.

Each city developed an action plan, including baseline figures and environmental, health, social and economic co-benefits where available, which will be regularly updated. Read the city action plans and learn about the Good Food Cities Declaration.

  1. IPCC, 2019.
  2. FAO UN, 2011.

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