You may think we deprive our own people of work by importing foods, but that is simply not true. Regardless of whether you compare the footprint of foods in terms of their weight (e.g. In many cases a much smaller footprint. But it’s still true when you compare the extremes: there’s not much overlap in emissions between the worst producers of plant proteins, and the best producers of meat and dairy. Walker can help. Food transport accounted for only 6% of emissions. Let’s take a look at the full range of footprints for protein-rich foods. Let’s compare the transport footprint of buying from your local farmer (who lives just down the road from you), versus someone in the UK transporting beef from Central America (approximately 9000 kilometers away). Protein-rich foods account for the bulk of our dietary emissions. Much of the food consumed in the United States is imported, including an estimated 60 percent of fresh fruits and 80 percent of seafood, according to a March 2011 article in Scientific American. This is certainly true when you compare average emissions. Call us for global sourcing and logistics. What are the environmental impacts of food and agriculture? Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome. The study by Poore and Nemecek (2018) found that almost one-quarter – 24% – of food’s emissions come from food that is lost in supply chains or wasted by consumers. Ensuring everyone in the world has access to a nutritious diet in a sustainable way is one of the greatest challenges we face. To express all greenhouse gases in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2-eq), they are each weighted by their global warming potential (GWP) value. To make this accurate, the emissions of each country should be slightly lower than their reported values because we should remove the emissions from food waste for each. These are shown by category in the visualization: Livestock & fisheries account for 31% of food emissions. Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology (SIK) report 857, SIK. This means that 90% of global pea, tofu or nut production has a carbon footprint less than this figure. Ad: Importing gives you many new types of food to choose from. We should avoid air-freighted goods where we can. At the other end, some are much lower. For example importing of goods could lead the erosion of the domestic markets and national economies specifically when there is trade deficit occurrence i.e. Please consult our full legal disclaimer. • Extra Costs: Developing an export market takes time. By analysing consumer expenditure data, the researchers estimated that the average American household’s food emissions were around 8 tonnes of CO2eq per year. Noi e i nostri partner memorizzeremo e/o accederemo ai dati sul tuo dispositivo attraverso l'uso di cookie e tecnologie simili, per mostrare annunci e contenuti personalizzati, per la misurazione di annunci e contenuti, per l'analisi dei segmenti di pubblico e per lo sviluppo dei prodotti. Food waste emissions are large: one-quarter of emissions (3.3 billion tonnes of CO2eq) from food production ends up as wastage either from supply chain losses or consumers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(25), 6506-6511. Puoi modificare le tue preferenze in qualsiasi momento in Le tue impostazioni per la privacy. This can be seen at the bottom of our visualization. We can look at these comparisons based on mass: the land used to produce one kilogram of food product. Focus on what you eat, not whether your food is local, Less meat is nearly always better for your carbon footprint than sustainable meat. How do different food products contribute to eutrophication? As an example: producing 100 grams of protein from peas emits just 0.4 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2eq). The mean emissions from beef very much depend on whether it’s sourced from dairy herds or from dedicated beef herds. The climate benefits of eating locally are much smaller than people think. You might think that this figure of 6% is strongly dependent on where in the world you live – that if you live somewhere very remote, that the role of transport must be much higher. The role of seasonality in lettuce consumption: a case study of environmental and social aspects. So, if you want to reduce the carbon footprint of your diet, avoid air-freighted foods where you can. We cover the human aspects of food and nutrition in various entries, including hunger and undernourishment, micronutrient deficiency, food per person, diet compositions and obesity. Help us do this work by making a donation. There are also a number of cases where eating locally might in fact increase emissions. But it’s also important to look at these comparisons in terms of nutritional units: this gives a measure of how low or high-impact different foods are in supplying protein or energy/calories, for example. Ruminant livestock – mainly cattle – for example, produce methane through their digestive processes (in a process known as ‘enteric fermentation’). The chart here shows the share of global ‘food miles’ by transport method. The conclusions we can draw from this are the same. 6% of land use change results from conversion from food for human consumption, and 12% for the production of animal feed. Overall, animal-based foods tend to have a higher footprint than plant-based. This comparison of food waste and countries is now common, and sometimes criticised for the fact that it double-counts emissions.We’re comparing food waste with country emissions without accounting for the fact that these ‘food waste’ emissions are also included in national emissions figures. IPCC, 2014: Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Foods which are air-freighted tend to be those which are highly perishable. It is often hard for consumers to identify foods that have travelled by air because they’re rarely labeled as such. Food losses and waste accounts for around 6% – around three times the share from aviation. For example importing of goods could lead the erosion of the domestic markets and national economies specifically when there is trade deficit occurrence i.e. The global average per capita protein availability from vegetal products was 49 grams per person per day, and 32g from animal products. Almost two-thirds of this (15% of food emissions) comes from losses in the supply chain which result from poor storage and handling techniques; lack of refrigeration; and spoilage in transport and processing. Food waste would not fall down the rankings since its 4th placed competitor – India – would see a slight drop in emissions. In the visualization here I show the emissions from wasted food in the context of global greenhouse gas emissions. These charts are interactive so you can add and remove products using the ‘add food’ button. Top 5 Challenges of Importing: Are You Prepared? This is different from poultry and pig farming: 61% of pork, 81% of chicken and 86% of eggs are produced intensively in industrial-farm settings.33 These systems are very similar wherever they are in the world. Decreased Nutritional Potential This is equivalent to 0.35% of the total footprint of the 60 kilograms of CO2eq per kilogram of beef. Farm-stage emissions include processes such as the application of fertilizers – both organic (“manure management”) and synthetic; and enteric fermentation (the production of methane in the stomachs of cattle). There’s more wins for local food vs imported food. There are many examples of studies which show that importing often has a lower footprint. Eating less meat and dairy, or switching from ruminant meat to chicken, pork, or plant-based alternatives will reduce your footprint by much more. When it comes to tackling climate change, the focus tends to be on ‘clean energy’ solutions – the deployment of renewable or nuclear energy; improvements in energy efficiency; or transition to low-carbon transport. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 19(5), 589-606. This means they need to be eaten soon after they’ve been harvested. Importing food also enables them to offer more choices, like exotic fruits and international food, to their customers. If you want a lower-carbon diet, eating less meat is nearly always better than eating the most sustainable meat. pesticides and other germs on the food. Flying from Lima to London is around 10,000 kilometers. In beef from beef herds, it’s 0.5%. The figures given here are slightly lower for protein production (37% of the world total) because seafood from wild capture fisheries are not included (as they are not grown on terrestrial land). Many argue that this overlooks the large variation in the footprints of foods across the world. If it traveled the same distance by boat, the travel emissions would be only 0.26 kg CO2eq per kg [10,000km * 0.026 kilograms CO2eq per tonne-kilometer for transport by boat / 1000 = 0.26 kg CO2eq per kg].