Course Syllabus

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SUS_Food_FrontCredits: Mollie Katzen, EAT Forum (2019)

Semester & Location:

Fall 2023 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Core Course - 3 credits

Core Course Study Tours:

Short Tour: Southern Denmark. Long tour: Sweden

Major Disciplines:

Environmental Studies, Public Policy, Sustainability



Faculty Members:

Emmanuel Gentil 

current students use canvas inbox

Time & Place:

Monday & Thursday, 10.05 - 11.25, Location N7-B21


Description of Course

Food is the single strongest force to optimize human health and environmental sustainability on Earth (Eat-Lancet Commission, 2019). However, food production and consumption are, in its current form, a threat to both our health and our environment on a global scale. Food contributes to 30% of the global climate pollution, and 820 million people are malnourished while 650  million are suffering from obesity. 
The objective of the course is to understand and acknowledge the societal challenges of food. The course provides a toolbox to identify concrete solutions and replicate models that will enable society to produce and consume healthy food all within planetary boundaries. The course addresses questions such as what does "planetary diet" mean? What is the connection between water, energy and food? How can we transform eating habits? How do we improve food production? How do we align our food system with the United Nations' global goals? How do we reduce food waste, and manage what we cannot minimize more sustainably? Should we move towards less quantity and more quality for the food we eat?

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, you will be able to :

  • Have a clearer understanding of the urgent need to change current food production and consumption practice
  • Understand the interconnection between water, energy, and food
  • Analyze the key ingredients of success that embrace more sustainable food consumption and production

Faculty: Emmanuel Gentil

Ph.D. in environmental engineering, DTU, Denmark, 2011. Independent environmental consultant. Senior Consultant at Copenhagen Resource Institute, for the European Environment Agency and for the European Commission on waste management policy in EU. Ph.D. School Manager and Ph.D. researcher at DTU, Denmark 2006-2011. Master of business strategy and environmental management, Bradford. With DIS since 2013.


Stehfest et al. (2009). Climate benefits of changing diet. Climatic Change. 20pp

FAO (2011). Global food losses and food waste – Extent, causes and prevention. Rome. 38 pp

Vermeulen et al. (2012). Climate Change and Food Systems. Annu. Rev. Environ. Resour. 2012. 37:195–222

Mushtaq et al. (2015) Integrated Indicators for Sustainable Food Systems and Healthy Diets in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. 43 pp

Karlsson et al. (2017) Future Nordic Diets. Exploring ways for sustainably feeding the Nordics. Nordic Council of Ministers 2017. TemaNord 2017:566

Searchinger et al. (2018 ). Creating a sustainable food future. A Menu of Solutions to Feed Nearly 10 Billion People by 2050. World Resource Institute. 96 pp

Harwatt (2018). Including animal to plant protein shifts in climate change mitigation policy: a proposed three-step strategy, Climate Policy

Halloran et al. (2018). Solutions Menu A Nordic guide to sustainable food policy. Nordic Council of Ministers. 163 pp

Poore & Nemecek (2018). Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers. Science 360 (6392) 987-992

Hawken (2017). Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming. 256 pp.

Willett et al. (2019). Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems

Willett (2019). Food, Planet, Health. To Achieve Planetary Health Diets for Nearly 10 Billion People by 2050

World Economic Forum (2019). Meat: the Future series Alternative Proteins. White Paper. 32 pp.

Sachs et al. (2019). Fixing the business of food. The food industry and the SDG challenge. Barilla Centre for food and nutrition

Field Studies

Field studies are visits or workshops lasting half a day. These field studies are an important, and mandatory, part of the course in order to experience a real life situation or to interact with external experts.


Core Course week and study tours are an integral part of the core course as we take the classroom on the road to see how the theories presented in the classroom translate to practice in the field. You will travel with your classmates and DIS faculty/staff on two study tours, a short study tour during Core Course Week and a long study tour to Sweden.

Short Study Tour during Core Course Week (Sept 11-13)

Two days exploring Copenhagen including

  • Food tasting
  • Food supply chain sustainability start-up and entrepreneurs

A three-day tour to Bornholm.

Long Study Tour to Sweden (Oct 08-Oct 13)

A six-day tour to Sweden

On our six-day tour, we will be exploring sustainability strategies in rural Sweden while experiencing Swedish landscapes and cultures.

Visits will include:

  • Learning about Skåne (Southern Sweden) sustainable food scene
  • Innovative companies (Oat milk production, Apple juice production)
  • Development of precision agriculture technologies in large scale farm
  • Experiencing the East coast of southern Sweden
  • Visits of historical heritage
  • Alternative farming practice (Organic, agroforestry, permaculture)
  • Nordic diets in rural areas.


While on a program study tour, DIS will provide hostel/hotel accommodation, transportation to/from the destination(s), approx. 2 meals per day, and entrances, guides, and visits relevant to your area of study. You will receive a more detailed itinerary prior to departure.

Travel policies: You are required to travel with your group to the destination. If you have to deviate from the group travel plans, you need approval from the program director and the study tours office prior to departure. You are free to return to Copenhagen on your own if you choose to do so, but you must stay with the group through the last visit and inform your study tour leaders of your plans in advance. 

Guest Lecturer

Jakob Rukov (TBC), founder and CEO of Bugging Denmark. Insects as protein alternatives to meat

Approach to Teaching

The course consists of a diversity of teaching formats, including formal lecturing, discussion and debates. The teaching material will include videos, book chapters, articles and reports.

In order to facilitate active participation in class, each of you will be asked to talk about news articles relevant to the subject during the first 10 minutes of each class. A list of sources will be provided. It is your responsibility to do the requested reading and watch the videos. This exercise will benefit the whole class by allowing us to have more informed discussions and thereby learn from each other.

Expectations of the Students

  • Participate in all activities
  • Engage in discussions, ask questions, and contribute to achieving the learning objectives
  • Respect the speakers, DIS staff, and your fellow classmates
  • Be curious
  • Represent yourself, your home university, and DIS in a positive light


You will be evaluated through 2 -3 short essays. Some concrete exercises will be performed (creating and doing a planetary diet food menu) as well as an exam to test your understanding of the key concepts of course.

Participation will be based on the following criteria:

  • Attendance
  • Active participation in class discussions
  • Preparation for each class
  • Reading all assigned texts
  • On-time submission of all class assignments
  • Active participation in study tours and field studies


 **The final exam date will be announced at the start of the semester**

-To be eligible for a passing grade in this class you must complete all of the assigned work.-



You will receive written instructions in class regarding individual assignment details.



Article presentation (Canvas)

10 %

Core course week

5 %

Long Study Tour Assessment

15 %

Final Exam

30 %

General Participation 

20 %

Short essay 

20 %



Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on: 



DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -


Course Summary:

Date Details Due