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THE PATH TO MORE SUSTAINABLE FOOD PRODUCTS Kate Hughes Environment, Business and Consumers Division Defra.

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Presentation on theme: "THE PATH TO MORE SUSTAINABLE FOOD PRODUCTS Kate Hughes Environment, Business and Consumers Division Defra."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE PATH TO MORE SUSTAINABLE FOOD PRODUCTS Kate Hughes Environment, Business and Consumers Division Defra

2 Why do we care about products? Significant adverse environmental and social impacts are associated with the PRODUCTION and CONSUMPTION of PRODUCTS. Impacts from products occur throughout their life cycle, in the UK and abroad. Products are a major causal factor for environmental degradation e.g. GHG/Climate Change, waste, resource depletion (materials & energy), pollution.

3 Why do we care about products? Impacts occur across the product life cycle. resources energy energy

4 Which products and services do we care about? There is consensus about the product and service areas with the greatest impacts: Food and drink – 20-30% Passenger transport – 15-20% Buildings and appliances – 20-35% Clothing – 5-10% Also important is tourism and leisure

5 What are the impacts of food production? Salmon (farmed) beef poultry potatoes Carrots (fresh) Tomatoes (greenhouse) 137MJ/Kg pork milk pasta apples rice ketchup yoghurt Cheese Ice-cream butter lamb Fish fingers eggs bread 60 Bottled mineral water Data, various sources, in Green et al, (2006) Environmental Impacts of Food Production and Consumption, report to Defra Comparison of lifecycle energy use for food products (MJ/Kg) Lifecycle impact variation Apples local vs NZ 6-8MJ Yogurt MJ depending on transport and packaging Ice cream: 5-7, length of time stored Lamb: conventional 23, organic 18 Chicken: conventional 12, free range 16, organic 18 Milk 4-8.4

6 What are the life cycle impacts of food? Significant proportion of environmental impacts come from food production and consumption. Impacts occur at all stages of life cycle – agri inputs, agriculture, processing, retail, distribution, consumption and waste Hugely complicated area – each food is different… but: Meat and dairy products account for 6-16% of GWP and 24-36% of eutrophication of all products A selection of products make up remaining, smaller % contributions – cereals and grains, soft and alcoholic drinks, sweets etc. Data on fish is often limited but expected to be important.

7 What are the life cycle impacts of food? For many foods, environmental impacts of organic are lower than for conventionally grown food. But not true for all foods and seldom true for all classes of environmental impact. Evidence for a lower environmental impact of local preference in food supply and consumption is weak; the evidence for impact of bulk haulage is not decisive. Global sourcing could be a better option for some foods. Car based shopping impacts tend to be greater than freight; though air freighted products have large impacts though are still relatively small proportion of food consumed. Energy consumption involved in refrigeration means that a “cold” food will have a higher impact than a “fresh” one. But the need to preserve food, coupled with food waste issues, makes comparison difficult. Environmental impact of packaging is high for some foods (eg. bottled drinks), but evidence about overall impact is sparse or inconclusive.

8 What can we do to make products better? Moving attention from point-source pollution to product life-cycles. Avoiding shift of impacts between life-cycle stages. Five key principles: Life-cycle thinking: focus on points of maximum impact; Work with the market: incentivise demand, reward innovation; Stakeholder involvement: all have role in minimising impacts; Continuous improvement: through industry setting pace, regulation, forward-looking policy and standards; Variety of policy instruments: flexible ‘toolbox’ approach. Interventions include product standards, regulation, labelling, fiscal instruments, sustainable procurement, technology innovations, eco design, education and awareness raising Choice editing – making the product better, so the consumer doesn’t have to choose.

9 What is a product roadmap? A product or service roadmap is a tool to better understand the impacts of a particular product, and to then understand ways in which those impacts can be mitigated. They will be Collaborative, Challenging, Creative – and through Commitments from stakeholders, will deliver Change. The roadmaps will examine the current landscape, define a vision of where we want to be, and then chart a course to get there, through a range of interventions (in short, medium and long term) aimed at the parts of the life cycle with the most significant impacts. Developing 10 product roadmaps, drawn from 4 big impact areas

10 DEFRA’s Product & Service Roadmaps PRIORITY AREAPRODUCT OR SERVICE FoodMilk Fish TransportPassenger cars Energy Using ProductsTVs Lighting Motors HousingWindow systems WCs Plasterboard Clothing/TextilesClothing

11 Work in progress - milk roadmap Energy consumption across the milk production and consumption life cycle

12 Work in progress - milk roadmap Milk roadmap taskforce – drawn from Dairy Supply Chain Forum and other key stakeholders Aim is to reduce the environmental impacts of dairy production and consumption whilst strengthening UK productivity and competitiveness Complex life cycle and range of impacts – but huge opportunity to show environmental improvements already underway, and to explore long term options to mitigate impacts further. Interventions could include plant breeding, innovative packaging, technology improvements in retail / domestic refrigeration, reducing waste…

13 Work in progress – fish roadmap

14 Complex, international picture, with resource depletion a key issue Undertaking research to understand impacts across the life cycle and potential interventions Have developed vision for sustainable fisheries, which sets out path for next 20 years – currently out to consultation Next steps are to understand how to achieve that vision. Potentially powerful role for manufacturers and retailers in “choice editing” out fish that are from unsustainable stocks. Innovation in: marketing for different fish types; transport/refrigeration; fishing to demand…? For all roadmaps, this is the start of long process…

15 Contacts and references Kate Hughes – Sustainable product policy Sustainable consumption and production – Defra pages Shopping trolley research /EV02007_4601_FRP.pdf EU study – EIPRO


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