Mediterranean countries’ food consumption and sourcing patterns:An Ecological Footprint viewpoint.
Sommaire de l'article
Securing food for growing populations while minimizing environmental externalities is becoming a key topic in the current sustainability debate. This is particularly true in the Mediterranean region, which is characterized by scarce natural resources and increasing climate-related impacts. This paper focuses on the pressure Mediterranean people place on the Earth ecosystems because of their food consumption and sourcing patterns and then explores ways in which such pressure can be reduced. To do so, it uses an Ecological-Footprint-Extended Multi-Regional Input-Output (EF-MRIO) approach applied to 15 Mediterranean countries. Results indicate that food consumption is a substantial driver of the region's ecological deficit, whereby demand for renewable resources and ecosystems services outpaces the capacity of its ecosystems to provide them. Portugal, Malta and Greece are found to have the highest per capita food Footprints (1.50, 1.25 and 1.22 global hectares (gha), respectively), while Slovenia, Egypt and Israel have the lowest (0.63, 0.64 and 0.79gha, respectively). With the exception of France, all Mediterranean countries rely on the biocapacity of foreign countries to satisfy their residents' demand for food. By analyzing the effect of shifting to a calorie-adequate diet or changing dietary patterns, we finally point out that the region's Ecological Footprint – and therefore its ecological deficit – could be reduced by 8% to 10%.