The Journal of Transdisciplinary Environmental Studies' (TES)
Volume 14, Number 2, 2015

ISSN 1602-2297

Post Rio and Ottawa Policy
– Health Promotion and Sustainable Development Compared

Pernille Almlund, Department of Communication, Business and Information, Roskilde University, Denmark,

Jesper Holm*, Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change, Roskilde University, Denmark,
*Corresponding author:

Abstract: A In this 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. Thus, to avoid unintended, negative effects the strategies directed towards sustainable development must be correlated with strategies for health promotion. The conceptual model is used to take a closer look at the complexities of food waste reduction and how these strategies affect the prospects for promoting health and sustainable food production and consumption. Danish food waste reduction strategies are used as examples with references to selected policy documents on food waste reduction strategies launched by international organisations such as FAO, WHO, and the UN. We conclude that the strategies directed towards reducing food waste ignore the health and sustainability problems related to the oversupply of food. Neither do the Danish proponents of food waste reduction strategies explicitly articulate the built-in option to reduce the supply of food as food waste is reduced. The lack of attention given to reducing the oversupply of food calls for governance initiatives directed towards reducing the overproduction of primary food produce in order to reap the environmental benefits and the health promotion benefits of reducing food waste.

Key words: health promotion, sustainable development, duality of structures, food loss and food waste, food security

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