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ENHANCE- environmental impact of foods and diets consultant

World Food Programme

World Food Programme

Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2023

WFP seeks candidates of the highest integrity and professionalism who share our humanitarian principles

Selection of staff is made on a competitive basis, and we are committed to promoting diversity and gender balance

Job Title: ENHANCE- environmental impact of foods and diets consultant

Type of Contract: International Consultant

Division: NUT - Nutrition Division, Analytics and Science for Food and Nutrition Team (AS4FN)

Duty Station (City, Country): Rome, Italy (Based in Rome or Home-based)

Duration: 9 months


Ensuring a diverse and healthy diet for our growing world population through sustainable food systems is one of the greatest challenges of our times. This is particularly true in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where undernutrition remains a major problem due to diets that are often not diverse enough, lack adequate protein quality and micronutrients, and may also be insufficient to meet energy needs. Furthermore, climate change and shocks also affect food systems, affecting diets and requiring diverse adaptations. Food supply and demand challenges encompass the linkages between health, food, purchasing power, and the environment. Food and diets have a direct impact on human health and environmental sustainability.

Providing an increasing population with diets that address multiple urgent priorities—nutrition, affordability, adaptation to climate change as well as the need to mitigate agriculture’s contributions to greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe), biodiversity loss, soil erosion, freshwater depletion, zoonosis, antimicrobial resistance, and other areas of public health and ecological concern—will require the development of long-term and context-appropriate strategies for the different components of the entire food system. It is essential to acknowledge that transitioning to sustainable healthy diets might lead to an increase in GHG emissions in LMICs, making it crucial to balance environmental and nutritional objectives.

The ENHANCE project (Environment, Nutrition and Health Analytics for National, Consumer and Emergency diets) envisions the use of analytics to address the challenge of achieving an affordable healthy diet whilst limiting the environmental impacts. ENHANCE aspires to be an open-access platform for data-analysts and policymakers that brings together data from different domains to compare dietary scenarios for their different impacts. Multi-objective linear optimization will allow users to explore synergies and trade-offs between cost, environmental impact, dietary preferences, and nutrient adequacy of dietary scenarios, generating evidence to inform actions and policies for food systems transformation. The solution relies on a strong data suite on the composition, cost, and environmental footprint of foods across countries and contexts. On the environmental side, the data consists of a compilation of existing data on GHGe and water footprint (green and blue) for 75 foods in 180 countries and taking into consideration land use changes and country of origin.

The four partners currently involved in the project are Capgemini, Johns Hopkins University (JHU), Zero Hunger Lab of Tilburg University (ZHL), and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). Each partner brings a combination of specific subject matter knowledge, data science and/or end-user expertise and platforms, as well as specific capacity to work on the solution.

The project is recruiting for a consultant with specific expertise in measuring and interpreting the environmental footprint of foods and diets. The position will be supporting the development of the environmental component of the ENHANCE analytical suite in areas such as data and database management, analytics, research, and capacity building. The consultant will be expected to liaise with team members at JHU, based in Baltimore (United States) and to carry this work independently, with limited supervision from the JHU and WFP team members. Consultant should ensure sufficient overlap of work hours between their location and the eastern part of the United States as well as Western Europe.


  1. Identifying, evaluating, compiling, updating, and documenting data on the GHGe and water footprint of foods/diets:

    • Identify additional data sources to include within the ENHANCE database.
    • Propose a process to obtain and update the environmental footprint database (sources, cleaning, matching etc.).
    • Work with Johns Hopkins and Capgemini on integrating an automatic update of the trade data underlying the current database on GHGe and water footprint of foods/diets in the ENHANCE web application.

  1. Provide inputs to the ENHANCE analysis

    • Define an approach to derive national environmental targets from policy documents (for GHGe and water footprints) for the multi-linear optimization (e.g., how to translate a nationally determined contribution or emission reduction goal or maximum to per capita target for food production?)
    • In collaboration with JHU colleagues, define and provide inputs to the environmental impact modelling (e.g., how environmental impact of diets change with production methods). In particular, conduct literature research and consultations to propose how to model the impact of changes in production methods on the environmental footprint of diets.
    • Develop written guidance on:
      • Running the analysis (e.g., what can be estimated, what do the indicators mean etc.)
      • Interpreting the results (e.g., trade-offs, policy implications etc.) to facilitate stakeholder consultations and inform evidence-based decision-making.
      • Understanding the limitations of the environmental data and its implications for interpretations.
      • Relevant background material and sources

  1. Contribute to further strengthening ENHANCE concept and dissemination

    • In collaboration with the JHU colleagues, set-up an environmental advisory group for ENHANCE with key academic and research partners.
    • In collaboration with the JHU team, identify additional environmental impact indicators to be included in the ENHANCE analysis beyond GHGe and water footprint and how these could be integrated into the database and the analyses. This includes defining a workplan and roadmap for the associated research and supporting the JHU team in identifying needs and resources for implementation.
    • Participate in technical meetings representing WFP on ENHANCE-related issues, when needed.


Related to ENHANCE database

  • Automatic update of the environmental data on GHGe and water footprint for ENHANCE analysis integrated within the web application
  • Process documentation for updating environmental dataset

Related to ENHANCE analyses

  • Approach to derive national environmental targets from policy documents
  • Guidance material on GHGe and water footprint results interpretation
  • Guidance material on implementation of production method changes modelling for GHGe and water footprint. If relevant, guidance material on implementation of other modelling.
  • Recommendations for an environmental advisory group for ENHANCE
  • Recommendations on additional environmental impact indicators to be included and proposed next steps



Graduate level (Masters or above, PhD preferred) in environmental sciences, environmental economics, sustainable food systems, agronomy, or other relevant scientific or socio-economic disciplines with a strong environmental/food systems component



  • Minimum of 6 years (not including PhD time) of relevant professional experience with at least 3 years of experience working on agri-food systems and environmental sciences.
  • 3+ years of relevant experience using life cycle assessment (LCA) and/or similar methodologies (including during PhD) to quantify environmental impacts associated with agriculture and other food system activities, working with LCA datasets, and interpreting LCA results for policymakers, practitioners, and other food system stakeholders.


  • Experience with data analysis and data science/operational research.
  • Experience conducting research.
  • Experience in database management.
  • Experience in low-middle income countries.

Knowledge and Skills:


  • Solid knowledge on agri-food systems and environmental sciences.
  • Working with inter-disciplinary teams.
  • Good interpersonal skills and ability to work in multicultural setting.
  • Flexibility in thinking, ability to adapt to different situations quickly and with ease.
  • Ability to work with and as part of a team and structure work independently


  • Proficient use of Excel
  • Experience with database management
  • Knowledge of Python


Professional level of written and spoken English. Other UN official languages (French, Spanish, Arabic) or working language (Portuguese) considered an asset.

Terms and Conditions

WFP offers a competitive compensation package which will be determined by the contract type and selected candidate’s qualifications and experience.

Please visit the following websites for detailed information on working with WFP. Click on: “Our work” and “Countries” to learn more about WFP’s operations.

Deadline for applications: 14 June 2023

Ref.: VA No. 827215

Qualified female applicants and qualified applicants from developing countries are especially encouraged to apply

WFP has zero tolerance for discrimination and does not discriminate on the basis of HIV/AIDS status

No appointment under any kind of contract will be offered to members of the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), International Civil Service

Commission (ICSC), FAO Finance Committee, WFP External Auditor, WFP Audit Committee, Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) and other similar bodies within the United Nations system with

oversight responsibilities over WFP, both during their service and within three years of ceasing that service.