Documents to download

• This note discusses whether consumers should be concerned at how far food has travelled before they buy it. A related note is Food Security – UK Policy (SN/SC/4985).

• The original food miles idea was that the distance that farm produce had travelled before consumption was a good indicator of the amount of CO2 that had been emitted.

• That idea has been seriously challenged, because transport accounts for only a very small proportion of the CO2 emissions from farm produce.

• In some cases, carbon emissions are much lower for items produced in tropical countries rather than in temperate countries. In other cases, emissions are much lower when they come from the most efficient source.

• Some people argue that food labels should have more detailed information about the environmental impact of that item. Others argue that such a requirement would make labels too complex and probably not greatly affect consumer behaviour.

• The Soil Association agreed, after long consultation, to monitor the use of air freight for organic produce, but not to require special labelling for it.

• The Government encourages sustainability in food provision, but not specifically reduction in food miles.

• In 2009, the EU banned a Swedish campaign to buy local.

Documents to download

Related posts

  • Animal welfare plans

    A debate will be held in Westminster Hall at 4.30pm on Monday 7 June 2021 on three petitions on subjects concerning animal welfare: Shark finning, puppy imports and ear cropping. The subject for the debate has been nominated by the Petitions Committee, and the debate wlll be opened by Elliot Colburn MP.

    Animal welfare plans
  • Tree planting in the UK

    Tree planting policies aim to increase tree cover in the UK, improve biodiversity, reduce climate emissions and provide income from agroforestry. The England Trees Action Plan 2021-24 was published in May 2021.It aims to treble tree planting by the end of the current Parliament, funded by more than £500 million of climate finance.

    Tree planting in the UK