In 2014 VITO investigated whether an environmentally neutral Flemish food industry is technically and economically feasible. This was investigated on behalf of the Flemish department of Environment, Nature and Energ together withIDEA Consult and KULeuven, and several stakeholders.
The food industry is the second-largest industrial employer in Flanders, with over 6,500 companies,. In 2014, VITO, IDEA Consult and KULeuven carried out in-depth research into whether the Flemish food sector can become environmentally neutral by 2030 with regards to water, energy and waste use. The study indicated that this can’t be accomplished easily. Current techniques are insufficient to achieve environmental neutrality in an economically feasible manner, even when compensating measures are taken into account.
VITO was responsible for developing the neutrality concepts, the baseline measurement and the inventory of the technical measures. Given the results of the feasibility study, VITO asks the Flemish government to carefully consider any new measures for energy, water and waste. VITO doesn't rule out that new technical breakthroughs or a reassessment of food products or habits could speed up environmental neutrality in the next 10 to 20 years.
The full report can be read in Dutch at http://www.lne.be/doelgroepen/bedrijven/doelgroep-voeding/eindrapport-lne-voeding-hoofdrapport-bijlagen.pdf