Funding the EU transition to more sustainable agriculture

Published: 05/12/2023

FoodDrinkEurope has commissioned Anthesis to compile a discussion paper on the costs of the transition to more sustainable agriculture.

Modern agriculture is a huge success story and an example of one of the biggest and most impressive feats of human ingenuity. However, to continue to meet the demands of a growing global population, it is widely acknowledged that agricultural production methods must transition to better align with the ecosystems and societies that underpin the agri-food sector, future proofing our entire food system.

There is a cost that comes with this transition though, moving away from production methods that have, in recent history, focused primarily on productivity gains, towards methods that focus on more sustainable agriculture practices that aim to improve environmental outcomes. This discussion paper explores the current state of play across EU agriculture and the potential cost of the transition required. It also considers the question of ‘who pays’, and what additional policy options could enable action.

Whilst progress has already been made by farmers and the food and drink industry, there is still more to do to transition the whole of EU agriculture to more sustainable agriculture practices. It is a continuous, ongoing effort that requires system-wide collaboration.

To address these questions, this discussion paper includes quantitative economic analysis as well as qualitative research from first-hand discussions with key stakeholders, including, European farmers and wider agri-food chain actors, such as financiers, food and drink industry stakeholders, academics, NGOs, and policymakers. It also considers practical examples of current best practice to demonstrate the value that could be created in the sector with more investment.