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BUYING CHOICES FOR A MORE SUSTAINABLE CANBERRA Sarah Ryan SoE Reporting Forum, 4 May 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "BUYING CHOICES FOR A MORE SUSTAINABLE CANBERRA Sarah Ryan SoE Reporting Forum, 4 May 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 BUYING CHOICES FOR A MORE SUSTAINABLE CANBERRA Sarah Ryan SoE Reporting Forum, 4 May 2012

2 Acknowledgements Office of the ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment Alexei Trundle and Sarah Burrows of the Office CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences ACT NRM Council Full report available at *** No brand endorsement or otherwise implied in this presentation***

3 Why? ACT State of the Environment Report was due end 2011 The ecological footprint of the ACT is high by world standards Consumer behaviour is a significant driver of footprint The Challenge: presenting information to consumers that relates to their lives in ways they can understand that might inspire and help them modify their consumption behaviour, and is based on sound science.

4 Ecological footprint of the ACT 9.2 global hectares AND rising 3 million gha (14x land area of the ACT) 15% higher than the average Australian footprint 3x the global average 5x the biocapacity of the earth Item of household consumption Footprint (gha/capita) % of total Electricity supply Residential building construction Retail trade Hotels, clubs, restaurants, cafes Air and space transport Petrol Other food products Wooden furniture Ownership of dwellings Clothing Electronic equipment Beef cattle Finished cars Education Non-building construction Gas supply Non-residential building construction Wheat SUBTOTAL Dey (2010) The ecological footprint of the population of the ACT

5 The shopping basket Loaf of bread Cup of coffee Tomatoes Beef Television set Paper book AA batteries Item of household consumptionFootprint (gha/capita) % of total Electricity supply Residential building construction Retail trade Hotels, clubs, restaurants, cafes Air and space transport Petrol Other food products Wooden furniture Ownership of dwellings Clothing Electronic equipment Beef cattle Finished cars Education Non-building construction Gas supply Non-residential building construction Wheat SUBTOTAL5.4659

6 Life cycle analyses Framework: cradle to grave paddock to plate farm to fork Outcomes assessed – eg land, water, biodiversity, air, toxicity Methodology for this study: Develop the supply chain for Canberra Use the literature to determine the hotspots Develop buying choices Consider social and ethical values Shortcomings and qualifications Analyses are usually incomplete, omitting parts of cycle and/or types of impacts Industry data are hard to obtain and can change rapidly The shopping trip is often excluded from analyses

7 BREAD consumption and supply chain 60 kg each pa 60% of market is supplied by 2 companies 300 m 2 farmland each 10,000 ha, =4% ACT little certified organic production

8 BREAD life cycle impacts Hotspots DOCUMENTED Land area Energy use retail and consumption baking SUSPECTED Shopping trip Waste in the home Narayanaswamy et al. (2004) Application of life cycle assessment to enhance eco-efficiency of grains supply chains.

9 BREAD hotspots and buying choices Buying choices Relatively little leverage over production or retail impact Reduce waste (38% of household landfill is kitchen waste) Shop wisely Social and ethical considerations Concentration of large bakeries in metro areas Sustainability credentials of the major companies Ownership of major companies

10 TOMATOES Fresh tomatoes 6 kg pa Mostly grown in Queensland using natural rain Mostly sold in supermarkets Processed tomatoes 20 kg pa (12 kg Australian) Mostly grown in Victoria using irrigation & in Italy Mostly sold in supermarkets and used in fast food 575 g jar of Dolmio© pasta sauce Ridoutt et al. (2009) Water footprinting at the product brand level: case study and future challenges.

11 Fresh TOMATO supply chain smalltownchutney.com.au

12 TOMATO transport CarArticulated truck Unit SCENARIO A, Emissions from a 10 km car round shopping trip to buy 1 kg tomatoes and from 1 kg tomatoes being transported the same distance in an averagely laden articulated truck (the impact of its return journey is attributed to the goods it carries on another averagely laden journey) kg CO2e SCENARIO A. Equivalent distance of transport by truck for the same emissions as car journey. 1050,630km SCENARIO B, As for A, but in the car journey the 1 kg tomatoes are part of a larger 10 kg shopping basket and the footprint of the other 9 kg is assigned to the other items kg CO2e SCENARIO B. Equivalent distance of truck journey for the same emissions as car journey. 105,063km

13 TOMATO transport long distance freight shopping, commuting, recreating etc Emissions kg CO2e/kmEmissions for Cbr tomato footprint kg CO2e Car kg tomatoes, 10 km trip Articulated truck kg tomatoes, 1200 km trip

14 Other transport findings UK – more energy to drive 6.5 km to buy green beans than to fly them from Africa Victoria – 5.5 km was the distance at which the car shopping trip (each direction) for fruit and vegetables began to outweigh the emissions of the truck transport from where they were grown New Zealand – emissions of NZ lamb consumed in the UK are only ¼ of those from lamb raised in the UK, despite the long ship journey (18% of NZ lamb total) USA – at an average freight distance of 1500 miles, only 6% of emissions associated with food are due to freight transport All other things being equal, low food miles are better. But theres rarely the information to make that judgement, and the leverage over transport options is small. BEWARE OF PARTIAL INDICATORS

15 TOMATOES hotspots & buying choices Hotspots Retail and shopping trip Fertiliser use Irrigation (processed tomatoes) Buying choices Organic if available Reduce waste Shop wisely Social and ethical Good regional employment in Australia Cheap labour used in Italy (but economic opportunities for Albanians and north Africans)

16 Sustainability labelling The footprint of the farm phase is not generally the single largest contributor to the whole footprint for food. Should we be focussing on farmers having to document the following, and distributors having to retain labelling through to retail, or should we focus on retailers and on consumer behaviour? Water and Waterways category of on-farm sustainability of vegetable production in Australia – AusVeg checklist Water for irrigation from sources that may cause environmental harm to land and soil, waterways and sensitive areas is managed or treated to minimise the risk of environmental harm. The irrigation schedule is based on: weather predictions; water stress symptoms; actual rainfall using rain gauges; wetting front detectors or soil moisture probes. The irrigation system is: efficient and minimises water use; causes minimal soil erosion, and minimises energy use. Incoming and drainage water in hydroponic systems is monitored for pH and electrical conductivity. Water loss is minimised by checking for and repairing leaks on a regular basis. Evaporation is minimised from storages and delivery systems. Water is recycled where possible. Pests are managed in water storages and waterways - including algae, weeds, pest animals and diseases. Water discharged from the property is managed or treated to minimise off-site environmental harm. Runoff and tail water is channelled into sumps, settling ponds or grassed channels before it goes into storage.

17 Coffee Roasting Machine Wikimedia Commons COFFEE

18 COFFEE supply chain and hotspots Brommer et al. (2011) Environmental impacts of different methods of coffee preparation. Emissions embodied in 1 cup of black coffee made at home in Germany Here the consumer has control over 30-50% of the footprint.

19 COFFEE preparation in the home

20 COFFEE buying choices Production impacts – buy an accredited brand Consumption impacts Dont use electric machines at home, especially capsules Shop wisely (including visiting cafes)

21 BEEF 4o kg each pa Two-thirds is bought from retail outlets Supermarkets 65% Butchers27% Markets & delis 8% One-third is eaten out of the home US data suggests 30% of meat bought for the home is never eaten Waste is environmentally costly because all the upstream impact has already happened.

22 BEEF supply chain

23 BEEF hotspots Land area ACT beef consumption requires 210,000 ha grazing land (equivalent to 90% area of the ACT) OR combination of grazing and grain growing land Methane emissions Fermentation in ruminants eating poor quality forage Methane has 25x the warming impact of CO2 Cattle and sheep contribute 70% of Australias agriculture CO2e emissions and 10% of Australias total emissions dynamicscience.com.au Emissions from 1/2lb of each product expressed in equivalents to a car journey

24 BEEF buying choices Buying choices Eat less beef /less meat Reduce waste Shop wisely Social and ethical Animal welfare Ethics of eating animals Regional economy Health benefits of eating less meat Reducing meat consumption has a high leverage over footprint

25 TELEVISION SETS We own 1 each Used 5-8 hrs per day Lifespan is now ~ 7 years Raw materials sourced from around the world Parts largely manufactured in Korea and Taiwan Assembled in China Environment Protection and Heritage Council (2009) Decision Regulatory Impact Statement: Televisions and Computers Contain glass, plastic, copper, iron, aluminium, steel and other metals and minerals

26 TELEVISION SETS hotspots Buying choices LCD over plasma Minimise size Reduce stand-by Use renewable electricity Wikimedia Commons Social and ethical Working conditions in countries supplying raw materials and recycling e-waste

27 PAPER BOOKS > 4 new books each pa

28 PAPER BOOKS

29 PAPER BOOKS hotspots Waste biomass in the forest (USA data) The shopping trip (3km = rest of emissions, Swedish data) Difficult to quantify – the biodiversity impact Green Press Initiative (2008) Reducing Climate Impacts: A Guide for the Book and Newspaper Industries.

30 PAPER BOOKS or an E-BOOK? worldgreen.org CO2e emissions 1 paper book 1-6 kg 1 e-book170 kg 60 paper books = 1 e-book ~30% of e-book emissions are in its use Buying choices Reduce new book purchases by sharing, using library etc Shop wisely Buy an e-book if you read a lot, and buy renewable energy to recharge it

31 AA BATTERIES 11 AA or AAA alkaline batteries each per year One option is to buy a recharger and use re rechargeable batteries. Which option has the lower footprint? Wikimedia Commons CO2e emissions to produce 1kWh in use alkaline (834)nil rechargeable (18 NiMH)~ 7 MJ CO2e emissions/battery in retailing alkaline110 MJ rechargeable 2 MJ

32 AA BATTERIES alkaline or rechargeable? Parsons D (2007) The environmental impact of disposable versus re-chargeable batteries for consumer use. Comparative factors for environmental damage of alkaline batteries compared to recharger+rechargeable batteries Buying choice Rechargeable

33 Conclusions Food and fibre products tend to have more impacts in their agricultural/forestry phase; manufactured goods often have more impact in their use phase. The generally low contribution of freight transport to individual footprints of the products analysed suggests that the location of Canberra away from major food and manufacturing locations is not a very significant component of our overall impact. Food miles are a relatively poor stand-alone indicator of the footprint of a product, unless all other things are equal. Within the transport footprint however, the shopping trip to purchase goods is often significant, particularly for food products that must be bought regularly. Packaging was rarely a hotspot for impact for the products studied. Very generally, around a half of the footprint of these products is under the control of the consumer.

34 Thank you


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