A study on global food sustainability.

Food Sustainability Index

The origin of the Food Sustainability Index

The Food Sustainability Index was developed in collaboration between the BCFN Foundation and the Economist Intelligence Unit, with one common objective: to promote knowledge on food sustainability.

The Food Sustainability Index is a global study on nutrition, sustainable agriculture and food waste which collects data from 67 countries across the world to highlight best practices and key areas for improvement in relation to the food paradoxes and the main Sustainable Development Goals.

'Fixing Food 2018: Best Practices towards the Sustainable Development Goals' is a study analysing the social, economic and environmental aspects of food sustainability. The links between these features highlight the key challenges that need addressing: access to food, promoting healthy and sustainable diets and an increasingly responsible food production and distribution.

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The origin of the Food Sustainability Index

The Food Sustainability Index Model

The Food Sustainability Index comprises a briefing paper, infographics and a digital hub. It is a qualitative and quantitative analysis model, based on 37 indicators and 89 sub-indicators, which analyse food sustainability from a multidisciplinary approach.
The Food Sustainability Index Model
The Economist - Intelligence Unit

Phases of the Food Sustainability Index

The first release of the Food Sustainability Index was presented on December 1, 2016 at the seventh edition of the International Forum on Food and Nutrition in front of an international audience of experts and stakeholders.

This is when it started to become well known. On December 7, 2016, the Food Sustainability Index was presented to the European Parliament with the aim of raising the community's awareness about food paradoxes, sharing best practices and identifying concrete solutions to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Policy makers, NGOs and civilised society all acknowledge the importance of this tool in inspiring, motivating and educating.

From here on the appointment with the International Forum in Food and Nutrition in Milan has been the stage from which new editions are launched. On 5 December 2017, the second edition was presented while the ninth Forum, on 28 November 2018, launched the third edition of the report.


Food is a common thread linking all 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), given the interconnected economic, social and environmental dimensions of food systems. The Food Sustainability Index (FSI), developed by The Economist Intelligence Unit with the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition, is a quantitative and qualitative benchmarking model gauging the sustainability of food systems globally across three key dimensions (environmental, societal and economic). The FSI includes three pillars: food loss and waste; sustainable agriculture; and nutritional challenges.
The infographic below depicts the economic, social and environmental dimensions of the key food-system indicators included in the FSI. This can highlight the impact of food systems on the 2030 agenda to meet the SDGs.

The FSI allows for comparison between countries and food-system indicators, highlighting best practices that food-system stakeholders—including policymakers, civil society organisations, the private sector, academia and research, and the media—can use to design roadmaps toward more sustainable food systems and ultimately the SDGs. Important drivers of sustainable food systems include education, advocacy and policies.

The composing indicators can be mapped very closely to the various SDGs, as visualised below. The associated SDGs are the ones we think are the most closely linked to each category, but it is not an exhaustive list and the links between food systems and the SDGs remain subject to further study. To explore the FSI, please visit http://foodsustainability.eiu.com/.

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