Duality of Health Promotion and Sustainable Development: perspectives on food waste reduction strategies

Bidragets oversatte titel: Dualiteten imellem sundhedsfremme og bæredygtig udvikling: - perspektiver på fødevarespild

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In the article we introduce the concept of duality of structures as our starting point for understanding the linkages between sustainability and health. We argue that the two concepts cannot be separated but must be understood as mutually dependent in the sense that health conditions sustainability and vice versa sustainability conditions health. This we denote the duality between sustainable development and health promotion, and argue that strategies directed towards sustainable development must be correlated with strategies for health promotion, to avoid unintended, negative effects. We refer to the current debate on global food loss and food waste to take a closer look at the consequences of food waste reduction strategies and how these strategies affect the prospects for promoting health and sustainable food production and consumption, mainly using Denmark as an example with references to selected policy documents on food waste reduction strategies launched by international organizations such as FAO, WHO, and UN.
We conclude that the strategies directed towards reducing food waste ignore the problems related to the oversupply of food. Neither do the proponents of the food waste reduction strategies explicitly articulate the built-in option to reduce the supply of food as food waste is reduced. Assuming a reduction in the demand for food as less food is wasted is not touched on neither in the political strategies or in the public debate on food waste. Nor do the strategies articulate the prospects for indirectly reducing the oversupply of food, explicitly. The lack of attention given to reducing the oversupply of food calls for governance initiatives directed towards reducing the overproduction of primary food produce for reaping the environmental benefits of reducing food waste. Another challenge not articulated explicitly is the optimistic approach to change the overwhelming amount of food waste generated by households.

Keywords: health promotion, sustainable development, duality of structures, food security, food loss and food waste
Bidragets oversatte titelDualiteten imellem sundhedsfremme og bæredygtig udvikling: - perspektiver på fødevarespild
TidsskriftJournal of Transdisciplinary Environmental Studies
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)5-18
StatusUdgivet - 2015


  • sustainability
  • health promotion
  • duality
  • food waste

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