Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Environmental impact assessments

17 December 2015

This paper quantifies what the environmental impacts would be if the typical US diet were to shift in line with the USDA dietary recommendations. The paper has created a lot of interest and debate since it shows that shifting towards healthier diets in some cases can increase the energy, emission and water intensity of the diet. This is why we wanted to provide a more extensive summary and some commentary below. Please do read, share and add your own comments.

For a comment by the study's lead author Michelle Tom see here and for another comment by Professor Michael Hamm see here

17 December 2015

This article in Science Magazine discusses how a genetically modified (GM) salmon has become the first animal to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  

17 December 2015

This FAO brief on food waste discusses the carbon footprint of global food waste and so called embedded emissions in avoidable food waste. In order to measure the avoidable emissions it is necessary to know how much of what kind of food is wasted and where.

17 December 2015

This thesis by PhD student Esther Sanyé-Mengual (Autonomous University of Barcelona) discusses urban rooftop farming, its potential and its associated environmental impacts and economic costs.

17 December 2015

This paper entitled Creating When You Have Less: The Impact of Resource Scarcity on Product Use Creativity, argues that resource scarcity actually translates into enhanced consumer product-use creativity.

9 November 2015

This report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) aims to inform decision-making that focuses on reducing impacts on natural capital.

30 September 2015

Photo credit: Getty images

The German car giant Volkswagen has admitted that they have cheated in emissions tests in the US. Since 2009, Volkswagen has been installing elaborate software in 482,000 "clean diesel" vehicles sold in the US and according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), these cars had devices in their diesel engines that could detect when they were being tested, changing the performance accordingly to improve results. The cars' pollution controls would then only work when being tested for emissions.

8 May 2015

This paper, co-authored by FCRN member Christian Reynolds, investigates the economic and environmental efficiency of charities and NGOs that divert and redistribute wasted but edible food. Through a case study of food rescue organizations in Australia, the authors show that food rescue operations generate approximately six kilograms of food waste per tonne of food rescued, at a cost of US$222 per tonne of food rescued. This is lower than purchasing edible, non-food waste food at market-cost. Secondly, for every US dollar spent on food rescue, edible food to the value of US$5.71 (1863 calories) was rescued.

19 April 2015

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) reports that the Australian beef industry has reduced its environmental footprint over the past 30 years. The results are presented in a new paper in Agricultural Systems, and in a press-release MLA writes that:

26 February 2015

The 2015 USDA’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, has published a report that sets out its revised dietary recommendations to encourage Americans to eat more healthily, and this time the recommendations also take account of environmental sustainability considerations. The report, Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (Advisory Report) will be reviewed by the Secretaries of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Federal government will determine how it will use the information in the Advisory Report as the government develops the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015 to be released later this year.

12 February 2015

This paper investigates the environmental impact of the diets of Australian households at different income quintiles. The paper looked at 2003 household consumption and argues that income affects the environmental impacts of household diet, with higher income corresponding to higher impacts. The higher the income bracket the more was spent on food and this translated through to a higher environmental impact (GHG CO2e, water, waste, energy) at higher incomes.

12 February 2015

This major study compiles and analyses global-level data to assess relationships among diet, environmental sustainability and human health.  It evaluates the potential future environmental impacts of the global dietary transition before exploring some possible solutions to the diet–environment–health trilemma. 

29 January 2015

Sentience Mosaic hosts live online debates where a variety of topics related to animal sentience are discussed.

The description of the event was as follows: “Livestock production is responsible for a large proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, livestock related gas emissions are expected to increase rapidly in coming years if no action is taken. Some propose that further intensification of animal production, in order to increase yield per animal, is the answer to reducing gas emissions. However, many argue that this is unethical and is not a solution.

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