The food system and the natural environment are closely linked. Indeed, food production strongly relies on environmental resources and services, and releases outputs into the environment. This implies that food-related activities can create negative externalities for the environment, for example related to overexploitation and pollution, given that the market fails to deliver the socially optimum level of resource use and/or pollution. Given this market failure, public intervention is required to regulate such activities. Public intervention can take different forms, from no intervention to simple guidelines up to strict regulation. Indeed, regulation can follow either an approach that outlines general principles or that fixes specific standards, or that promotes information and education. The aim of this chapter is to highlight the issues of environmental sustainability in the context of the agri-food system and to discuss current public and private initiatives that regulate the market from an environmental perspective. Thus, in this chapter we firstly introduce the concept of sustainability, including all the three pillars (profit, people and planet) and then discuss the issues of environmental sustainability related to food. Moreover, we discuss the different forms of public intervention and then we present European regulation that relates to environmental sustainability within the food system, including public and private voluntary initiatives. Furthermore, we discuss the interest of consumers for environmental sustainability and their perception of the impact of food production on the environment. Moreover, we analyse synergies between environmental sustainability and health issues. Concluding remarks follow
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