Food chain sustainability assessment is challenging on several grounds. Handling knowledge and information on sustainability performance and coping with the diversity of visions around “what counts as sustainable food” are two key issues addressed by this study. By developing a comparative case study on local, regional and global wheat-to-bread chains, and confronting the multidimensionality of sustainability, this work focuses on the differing visions and perspectives of stakeholders. We integrate qualitative and quantitative data, stakeholder consultation and multi-criteria analysis to align the visions and the multiple meanings of sustainability. Because of the complexity and the dynamicity of the food system, the multidimensionality of the sustainability concept and its pliability to stakeholders priorities, sustainability is an object of competition for firms in the agro-food sector and has major implications in the governance of food chains. Results identify key propositions in relation to: (i) the value of combining science-led evidence with socio-cultural values; (ii) multidimensional sustainability assessment as a self diagnosis tool; and (iii) the need to identify shared assessment criteria by communities of reference.
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