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Stewardship to tackle global phosphorus inefficiency: The case of Europe
- Withers, Paul J. A., van Dijk, Kimo C., Neset, Tina-Simone S., Nesme, Thomas, Oenema, Oene, Rubæk, Gitte H., Schoumans, Oscar F., Smit, Bert, Pellerin, Sylvain
- Ambio 2015 v.44 no.Supplement 2 pp. 193-206
- aquatic environment, cost effectiveness, ecosystem services, ecosystems, food chain, food security, issues and policy, phosphorus, researchers, society, stakeholders, wastes, Europe
- The inefficient use of phosphorus (P) in the food chain is a threat to the global aquatic environment and the health and well-being of citizens, and it is depleting an essential finite natural resource critical for future food security and ecosystem function. We outline a strategic framework of 5R stewardship (Re-align P inputs, Reduce P losses, Recycle P in bioresources, Recover P in wastes, and Redefine P in food systems) to help identify and deliver a range of integrated, cost-effective, and feasible technological innovations to improve P use efficiency in society and reduce Europe’s dependence on P imports. Their combined adoption facilitated by interactive policies, co-operation between upstream and downstream stakeholders (researchers, investors, producers, distributors, and consumers), and more harmonized approaches to P accounting would maximize the resource and environmental benefits and help deliver a more competitive, circular, and sustainable European economy. The case of Europe provides a blueprint for global P stewardship.