A framework for identifying and exploiting policy entry points for sustainable transformation of food systems

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Submission Summary
Food systems are linked with various health, social, economic, and environmental outcomes. As a result, food systems transformations are at the heart of solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and combat climate change. The problems in food systems range from ensuring food security for all to stimulating sustainable production and consumption patterns. The large concentration of people in cities offers a unique opportunity to trigger a transformation towards sustainable food systems. Hence, we discuss the use of different policy instruments to steer urban food systems in a sustainable direction. We build upon existing food system frameworks to identify policy entry points within different components of the system. This allows us to ascertain the role of particular policy instruments in providing the right incentives to achieve the changes required for sustainable food system transformations to occur. Furthermore, our framework enables us to analyze the relationships between different components of the food system and the outcomes they generate. Additionally, it allows us to identify possible feedback loops between system outcomes and drivers of change and helps elucidate the possible trade-offs between policy objectives. The effects of policies are context-dependent. Food supply chains can be diverse in size, scale, and actors involved. The social, economic, and cultural conditions actively affect individuals’ perceptions and actions. Modifying contextual factors can be an effective way to promote behavior change and sustainability. Therefore, we discuss key factors for policymakers to take into account when deciding what policies to implement and where to apply them.
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