Working Group on Sustainable Diets

The ANH Academy Technical Working Group on Sustainable Diets is a group of experts in agriculture, environmental or physical science, nutrition and/or health research, with a particular focus on methods and metrics in sustainable diets.

Sustainable diets research is a relatively new field, and as yet there has been little synthesis of evidence or sharing of knowledge as to best practices. Metrics used tend to focus on greenhouse gas emissions as a means of quantifying environmental impacts, but other measures such as land use change and water footprints have also begun to emerge. Methods for devising or modifying diets tend to involve variations on optimisation models such as linear programming, and these methods have their limitations. 

This Working Group will assess these metrics and methods in detail, with the aim of producing a technical brief that will serve as a guide to research in this area.

 

News from the group

 

ANH Academy Week 2016
The Sustainable Diets Working Group led a session at the ANH Academy Week in Addis Ababa in June 2016. The session took the form of a social and interactive game, Diet Dimensions. As a live, socialgame, the purpose was to get people talking, interacting and thinking creatively. Participants coming from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines formed teams and together came up with projects that can deliver sustainable food systems in various settings. A wide range of projects emerged, from promotion of trees and dairy production in the Ethiopian highlands to supporting women’s agricultural investment groups. The game highlights the multidimensional nature of the fi eld and the varied approaches that emerge as a result of di erent perspectives and disciplines. Ultimately, it sustainable diets is a multidimensional field and interdisciplinarity is required in order to adequately discuss and analyse the sustainability of global diets.

 

Group coordinators

 

Dr. Rosemary Green, Lecturer, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine/ LCIRAH (maternity leave)
Dr. Edward Joy, Research Fellow in Nutrition and Sustainability, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine/ LCIRAH

Group members

Lukasz Aleksandrowicz, PhD Researcher, LSHTM
Dr. Tara Garnett, Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food; Food Climate Research Network
Dr. Alfred Gathorne-Hardy, Research Fellow, University of Oxford
Dr. Andrew Jones, Assistant Professor, Nutritional Sciences, University of Michigan
Dr. Jennie Macdiarmid, Research Fellow, University of Aberdeen
Dr. Elin Roos, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

The group is supported by Sofia Kalamatianou, Research Assistant, LSHTM, and Dr. Suneetha Kadiyala, LSHTM, Principal Investigator for the IMMANA project. 

Dr Alfred Gathorne-Hardy
Dr Alfred Gathorne-Hardy
 

Scope   

The Group will focus its work on the development, synthesis and sharing of innovative research methods and approaches to sustainable diets. 


Aim       

To advance knowledge and scientific understanding among the global research community of methods and metrics relating to sustainable diets.


Objectives


•    To review the metrics, tools, definitions and software platforms currently used in sustainable diets research.
•    To produce a summary of current gaps and challenges related to these metrics.
•    To suggest additional metrics that might help quantify the impacts of diets on the environment, and new/refinements to existing methods that would help make research in this area more robust and/or replicable. 
•    To identify needs and opportunities for extending research on sustainable diets in low and middle income countries

Activities 

The group will meet regularly over the period of one year at the end of which it will produce a technical brief, to be presented at the Annual Conference in June. 

 

Resources

Detailed terms of reference

WEBINAR: Our work so far and request for feedback

BLOG: Beyond ‘healthy’ – what are sustainable diets and how can we measure them?