“Food system technologies are often surrounded by a sustainability halo. And many of them strive to reduce climate impact, but they disregard other dimensions of sustainability,” says Anne Charlotte Bunge, researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University and lead author of a recent study published in Nature Food.
In the study, the research team compared the scientific evidence behind sustainability claims of four food system technologies: plant-based substitutes for meat, dairy, eggs or sea food; vertical farming; food deliveries; and blockchain technology.
All four receive considerable interest from venture capital firms across Scandinavia, and all are frequently framed as new sustainable solutions. However, the scientific evidence to back these claims up is limited, according to the new study.
Vertical farming has a mixed sustainability performance. Vertical farms outperform on-field cultivation and greenhouses in some aspects, such as land and water use. However, they often require more energy and emit more greenhouse gases than field agriculture. And regarding other aspects of sustainability, there is little research: “We found a distinct lack of evidence modelling the socio-economic implications of scaling vertical farming,” says Anne Charlotte Bunge.
Read the complete article at www.stockholmresilience.org.