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Special Issue "Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Food Supply Chain Continuum"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Food".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Ilija Djekic
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Agriculture, University of Belgrade, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
Interests: food sustainability; life cycle assessment of food; environmental footprints in the food supply chain; sustainable diets; sustainable food production

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

From the moment the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been accepted, food has been recognized as one of the cornerstones for their achievement. Different steps of the food supply chain can be targeted, from the way food is grown or produced to technologies used for its processing, distribution, and storage, and means for its transportation to retail stores and the consumers. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations identified “eliminating hunger and malnutrition by 2030” as top priority, also highlighting the need of reaching all the other SDGs.

One of the challenges lies in the fact that we need to produce more food using less resources, namely, water and land, preserving biodiversity, preventing environmental pollution during food production, and decreasing all possibilities of food waste and losses in the food supply chain continuum.  Last, but not least, we also need to find solutions to decrease the effect of climate change on food production, without jeopardizing food safety. That is why it is necessary to quantify and describe various factors linked to the food supply chain, such as carbon, water, and waste footprints.

The aim of this Special Issue is to collect research papers related to various sustainable development goals from a food supply chain perspective. We especially welcome review articles that describe the current state of the art in relation to food sustainability.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Perspectives of ending poverty through sustainable food systems
  • Role of sustainable diets in decreasing the number of the undernourished and in preventing malnutrition
  • Sustainable food production and sustainable food consumption
  • Trust in the food supply chain from a sustainable point of view
  • Consumer perceptions related to sustainable food consumption
  • Risks and benefits of using oceans, seas, and marine resources in food sustainability
  • Food–water–energy nexus
  • Climate change and food safety
  • Combating climate change effects on food production
  • Perspectives for decreasing the effects of climate change on sustainable food production
  • Food and environmental law in promoting sustainable development goals
  • Food waste and losses and SDGs

Prof. Dr. Ilija Djekic
Prof. Dr. Anet Režek Jambrak
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainability
  • sustainable development
  • SD goals
  • 2030 Agenda
  • life-cycle sustainability assessment
  • food sustainability
  • sustainable food systems
  • sustainable diets

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Food Security and Transition towards Sustainability
Sustainability 2021, 13(22), 12433; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132212433 - 11 Nov 2021
Viewed by 428
Abstract
In the light of linkages in various scales and targets, the complex and nuanced design of the sustainable development goals (SDG) raises more challenges in their implementation on the ground. This paper reviewed 25 food security indicators, proposed improvements to facilitate operationalization, and [...] Read more.
In the light of linkages in various scales and targets, the complex and nuanced design of the sustainable development goals (SDG) raises more challenges in their implementation on the ground. This paper reviewed 25 food security indicators, proposed improvements to facilitate operationalization, and illustrated practical implementation. The research focused on three essential blind spots that arise from the potential interactions between sustainable food production, consumption, and domestic material consumption (DMC). Projection of latent structure regression was applied to link food security and sustainable development goals. Findings revealed that the key target in reducing trade-offs was the integration of DMC with sustainable food production and consumption. DMC was positively correlated with the creation of coherent SDG strategies and sustainable food security. Practical implications were discussed by highlighting how to achieve food security across contrasting development contexts and the challenges of addressing the links between targets and indicators within and beyond SDGs 2 and 12. The results are useful for setting a proper strategy for sustainable production and consumption that can improve the efficient use of resources in the eight Central European countries. Full article
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Article
Achieving the Food Security Strategy by Quantifying Food Loss and Waste. A Case Study of the Chinese Economy
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12259; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132112259 - 06 Nov 2021
Viewed by 404
Abstract
Undernourished and food insecurity are recognized as two highly relevant topics. Approximately 820 million people in the world are undernourished and 2 billion people have moderate or severe food insecurity (FAO). In addition, globally roughly one-third of food is not consumed and is [...] Read more.
Undernourished and food insecurity are recognized as two highly relevant topics. Approximately 820 million people in the world are undernourished and 2 billion people have moderate or severe food insecurity (FAO). In addition, globally roughly one-third of food is not consumed and is wasted. This article aims to provide an updated estimate of food loss and waste (FLW) in China as, in the period 2016–2018, there were still 122 million people in this country experiencing undernourishment. In this research, we use a top-down mass balance approach, discuss how it affects the achievement of SDG 2, Zero Hunger, that it is linked also to target 12.3 that “seeks to halve global food waste at retail and consumer levels, as well as to reduce food loss during production and supply” (United Nations). We point out some challenges that private and public policies still need to overcome to reduce FLW. The results of this research may contribute a more accurate baseline for the design of public policies and strategies related to FLW and the corresponding SDGs. Full article
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Article
Towards Understanding the Food Consumer Behavior–Food Safety–Sustainability Triangle: A Bibliometric Approach
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12218; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132112218 - 05 Nov 2021
Viewed by 308
Abstract
Academic research on food consumer behavior related to food safety has developed extremely rapidly in the last decades, and a sizable amount of knowledge has been accumulated in this interdisciplinary field. This information set, as big data, lends itself to bibliometric analysis. Based [...] Read more.
Academic research on food consumer behavior related to food safety has developed extremely rapidly in the last decades, and a sizable amount of knowledge has been accumulated in this interdisciplinary field. This information set, as big data, lends itself to bibliometric analysis. Based on the Web of Science database and on a statistical analysis of more than 26.6 thousand articles containing more than 3.4 million bibliometric pieces of information, the current article offers a systematic analysis of these statistical data. The dynamics of relevant publications show an exponential character. The field is dominated by researchers from welfare states; however, food safety is a more important problem in developing states. There are dynamic changes in the portfolio of journals, but Bradford’s law cannot be proven. The explanatory power of Lotka’s law has been decreasing, proving the de-concentration of relevant authors. Besides traditional disciplines like consumer science, food chemistry, microbiology, and technology, new disciplines, e.g., sociology, cultural anthropology, postmodern techniques, and the real-life study of consumer behavior, going beyond the application of traditional techniques, are gaining importance. There are three key challenges for further research: (1) contribution to a deeper understanding of inherent laws governing the food-consumer-environment system; (2) quantification of results for decision-makers to enhance the efficiency of policy preparation; (3) widening the scope of research in geographical terms, better involving the developing world, and in sociological terms, focusing on the specific needs of vulnerable groups. Full article
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Article
Safety vs. Sustainability Concerns of Infant Food Users: French Results and European Perspectives
Sustainability 2021, 13(18), 10074; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su131810074 - 08 Sep 2021
Viewed by 518
Abstract
Context. In line with Sustainable Development Goals 3 “Good health and well-being” and 12 “Responsible Consumption and Production”, this paper is concerned with the fragile population of the less-than-3-years-old children. More specifically, it investigates how infant food safety is perceived at the household [...] Read more.
Context. In line with Sustainable Development Goals 3 “Good health and well-being” and 12 “Responsible Consumption and Production”, this paper is concerned with the fragile population of the less-than-3-years-old children. More specifically, it investigates how infant food safety is perceived at the household level and at the level of childhood and health professionals directly in contact with them. Objective. The paper aims to analyze consumer priorities and perceptions of hazards in infant foods qualitatively and quantitatively. Methodology. To do so, a survey was carried out in France on 1750 people representative of the general population. A hybrid method is proposed to analyze the results of the survey, mixing artificial intelligence and statistics. Main insights. Within the declared priorities when choosing infant food, health comes first, with a top ranking for the absence of harmful substances, followed closely by nutritional balance—far ahead of environment, ease of use and price. The results show that the rankings of the hazards that cause the most worry are globally homogeneous throughout the populations (families, professionals, etc.) and higher for chemical contaminants from agricultural practices and packaging. For health professionals, concerns are higher than in the general population for all categories of contaminants, and specific concerns such as risk related to environmental and unknown contaminants are much more prevalent. The perception of risk varies with the food considered. For infant formula in particular, users seem puzzled by somehow contradictory messages. Perspectives. The study is intended to be generalized to Europe. Full article
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Communication
Metrics to Accelerate Private Sector Investment in Sustainable Development Goal 2—Zero Hunger
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 5967; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13115967 - 25 May 2021
Viewed by 780
Abstract
Substantial investment from both the private and public sectors will be needed to achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG2), which focuses on ending poverty and achieving zero hunger. To harness the private sector, high quality, transparent metrics are needed to ensure [...] Read more.
Substantial investment from both the private and public sectors will be needed to achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG2), which focuses on ending poverty and achieving zero hunger. To harness the private sector, high quality, transparent metrics are needed to ensure that every dollar spent reaches the most marginalized segments of a community while still helping institutions achieve their goals. Satellite-derived Earth observations will be instrumental in accelerating these investments and targeting them to the regions with the greatest need. This article proposes two quantitative metrics that could be used to evaluate the impact of private sector activities on SDG2: measuring increases in yield over baseline and ensuring input availability and affordability in all markets. Full article
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Article
Sustainability of Food Placement in Retailing during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 5956; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13115956 - 25 May 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 720
Abstract
This work aims to define the impact of different indicators on the sustainability of food placement in the retail sector, during periods of crisis and emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. An empirical survey conducted in the Western Balkans (WB) region showed that [...] Read more.
This work aims to define the impact of different indicators on the sustainability of food placement in the retail sector, during periods of crisis and emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. An empirical survey conducted in the Western Balkans (WB) region showed that indicators such as developed infrastructure, consistency, and transparency of the supply chain, skilled workers, costs, food safety, food prices, energy consumption, and changes in consumer needs are statistically significant since they affect the sustainability of food placement in the retail sector. As food placement and the retail sector itself are inseparable from other participants in the food supply chain (FSC), an analysis was conducted at the level of all FSC sectors. The results showed some deviations viewed individually in the sectors of production, physical distribution, wholesale, and retail, and in selected Western Balkan countries. Based on the results obtained, the sustainability model of food placement in the retail sector has been defined. The model will serve as the basis for defining the set of measures and incentives that competent institutions and FSC management need to undertake, to minimize the impact of indicators that endanger sustainability. The originality of the study lies in the fact that it fills the research gap that exists in this subject matter in academic research and studies in the WB region. In addition, some indicators important for food placement have been precisely isolated, with the definition of the intensity of their impact, observed overall at the level of the entire FSC as well as by individual sectors. Guidelines and suggestions for future research are listed in the paper. Full article
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Article
Reducing Environmental Risk by Applying a Polyvalent Model of Waste Management in the Restaurant Industry
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 5852; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13115852 - 23 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 801
Abstract
A series of concerns regarding the circular economy and linked to a responsible attitude toward environmental protection, have been approached in this paper. These represent essential demands in order for restaurants to be profitable and sustainable in the future. The cost of food [...] Read more.
A series of concerns regarding the circular economy and linked to a responsible attitude toward environmental protection, have been approached in this paper. These represent essential demands in order for restaurants to be profitable and sustainable in the future. The cost of food wastes has been taken into consideration as a strategic problem in the restaurant logistic chain. A literature review shows that there is a lack of appropriate knowledge and technology in dealing with eco-waste management. The paper presents a functional polyvalent model of the logistic chain of a restaurant, represented in the form of interconnected processes covered by the flows of food goods and wastes in different stages and operations, having associated the flows of optimized costs. The application of the sustainable technology model and waste management system is illustrated by a case study from Brașov County, Romania. The research proves that applying the “polyvalent model of improvement of waste management practices” has positive effects concerning the possibilities of minimizing physical waste to reduce the volume of waste from restaurant activity, to reduce costs with waste elimination, and to create value-added, by reusing and recycling food raw materials. Results show that by applying the TEWAMA-R model to food preparation, the total amount of reused beef waste per month increased to 33.4% and the recycling of waste increased to 41.1% (given that all waste was disposed of in application of standard technology). The disposal was reduced from 100% to 25.5%. The presented model allows for environmental impact reduction in the restaurant industry by reducing/eliminating waste or by-products that are carriers of huge resources of water and energy. Full article
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Review

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Review
Role of the Food Supply Chain Stakeholders in Achieving UN SDGs
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9095; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169095 - 13 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 877
Abstract
This paper gives an overview of main food supply chain stakeholders and their role in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As this supply chain is global, playing a significant role in feeding the world, a deeper analysis of 17 SDGs, their [...] Read more.
This paper gives an overview of main food supply chain stakeholders and their role in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As this supply chain is global, playing a significant role in feeding the world, a deeper analysis of 17 SDGs, their targets and indicators reveals numerous direct and indirect connections with various SDGs. To perform such an overview, the authors investigated the link between the main stakeholders of the chain (farmers, food processors, food traders and consumers) with UN SDGs. In parallel, the authors explored the roles of policymakers, inspection services, certification bodies and academia in supporting these SDGs. In spite of numerous papers, calculations and estimations, discussion and media coverage, the authors believe that only the tip of the iceberg has been revealed. Based on this overview, the authors emphasize SDG 2—Zero Hunger and SDG 12—Responsible Consumption and Production as the most dominant for the food supply chain. In parallel, the achievement of SDG 17—Partnerships for the Goals will enable deeper intertwining of the goals and all stakeholders in the food supply chain continuum. Additional efforts are needed to pave the way for fulfilling the targets of the UN SDGs and exceeding expectations of all stakeholders. Full article
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Review
Adoption of ICTs in Agri-Food Logistics: Potential and Limitations for Supply Chain Sustainability
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6702; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13126702 - 12 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 958
Abstract
A major challenge of Sustainable Development Goal 12 “Responsible Consumption and Production” is to reduce food losses along production and supply chains. This is particularly critical for fresh food products, due to their perishable and fragile nature, which makes the coordination of the [...] Read more.
A major challenge of Sustainable Development Goal 12 “Responsible Consumption and Production” is to reduce food losses along production and supply chains. This is particularly critical for fresh food products, due to their perishable and fragile nature, which makes the coordination of the actors all the more crucial to avoid wastes and losses. The rise of new technologies, referred to as “Industry 4.0” powered by the internet of things, big data analytics and artificial intelligence, could bring new solutions to meet these needs. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) allow for frequent exchanges of huge amounts of information between actors in the agrofood chains to coordinate their activities. The aim of the chapter is to provide a state-of-the-art analysis on ICTs used in agrofood supply chains, with a special focus on the case of fresh fruits and vegetables, to analyze the potential and weaknesses which exist in different forms of supply chains for ICTs becoming a “resource” (precious, rare, non-imitable, and nonsubstitutable) prospect and to suggest promising ICTs in this context. Full article
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