04/2018: Sustainable Diets (M. Springmann)

Place and Time: Abingdon, Thursday 19 April from 19:00 for 19:30

New Location: King Charles Room, King’s Head and Bell, (10 E St Helen St, Abingdon OX14 5EA)

Title: Challenges and Controversies in Sustainable Diets

There is general agreement that predominantly plant-based diets are healthier and more environmentally sustainable than diets with high portions of meat and dairy. However, some controversies persist and country-case studies have shown instances where plant-based diets can double pyramidbe higher in emissions, water use, land use, price, and lead to increases in micro-nutrient deficiencies. In my talk, I address those issues by using a harmonised global dataset with country-level detail for emissions, land use, water use, prices, and nutrient content of food consumption. I find that selective specification of plant-based diets and inclusion of extreme data points, as well as misspecified optimization approaches can explain the apparent contradictions. I suggest that controversies in sustainable-diet research can best be addressed by integrated analyses based on consistent and publicly available global datasets with regionally comparative detail.

Speaker: Marco Springmann

Marco Springmann is a senior researcher in the Centre on Population Approaches for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention in the Nuffield Department of Population Health, and leads the Centre’s programme on environmental sustainability and public health. He is interested in the health, environmental, and economic dimensions of the global food systems. He often uses systems models to provide quantitative estimates on food-related questions. He is currently working on a multidisciplinary project focused on the analysis and management of animal products and their substitutes called “Livestock, Environment and People” (LEAP). (http://www.futureoffood.ox.ac.uk/project/future-meat-and-dairy-fomad)

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