French farming is model of sustainability

According to the 2017 Food Sustainability Index (FSI), France has the most sustainable food system of the 34 countries surveyed, a position it has retained from the previous year.

Developed by The Economist Intelligence Unit in conjunction with the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition, the FSI measures the sustainability of food systems across three pillars: food loss and waste; nutritional challenges; and sustainable agriculture.

According to the FSI, France performs most strongly in the components of the index that relate to food loss and waste. In 2013 France launched its National Pact against Food Waste, and in 2016 it approved legislation making it compulsory for supermarkets and large grocery stores to pass on unsold food to food banks or charities. Restaurants above a certain size are also obliged to recycle left-over food or issue ‘doggy bags.’

France also scores relatively highly in terms of nutrition, although it has slipped to fourth place due to an increase in obesity. France is ranked third in terms of agricultural sustainability, a big improvement on the previous survey, but still behind Italy. France is pressing ahead with an agro-ecology project, which stresses that improvements in agricultural performance should not come at the expense of environmental and social conditions.

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