First, preliminary assessment of the environmental impact of the new DGE dietary recommendations published

corsus has carried out an initial, preliminary assessment of the environmental impact of the new DGE dietary recommendations on behalf of the Federal Environment Agency. The results show that the recommendations are a step in the right direction. If they were followed consistently, they would make a significant contribution to reducing the climate footprint associated with nutrition, as well as the land and biodiversity footprint. However, the impact on the scarcity-weighted water footprint could increase significantly.
The increase in the scarcity-weighted water footprint is primarily due to the fact that a large proportion of the fruit, vegetables and nuts consumed in Germany are produced in regions that suffer from water problems. These initial estimates show how important it is to take relevant environmental impacts into account when deriving dietary recommendations, which is already planned by the German Nutrition Society (DGE).
Further work as part of the ModErn project (Modelling the ecological effects of the revised DGE dietary recommendations), which corsus has been working on since the beginning of 2024 on behalf of the Federal Environment Agency, will further differentiate and substantiate the initial estimates now available. Scenarios are also being developed to highlight the potential environmental benefits and risks of the updated DGE recommendations and to assess the extent to which the planetary boundaries will be adhered to.
However, a look at the current average diet also shows that it is far from being in line with the DGE’s dietary recommendations. In addition to further adapting the dietary recommendations, it is therefore particularly important to develop strategies for increasing the consumption of more environmentally friendly and health-promoting foods.

The Federal Environment Agency’s factsheet “Sustainable nutrition in practice: using the DGE’s new recommendations to ensure planetary health”, which presents the results of the first, preliminary assessment in more detail, can be found here (in German).

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