Knowledge for better food systems

Environmental Information in the food supply system

"Environmental information in the food supply system" (2006), by Annika Carlsson-Kanyama, Fuentes C. & Carlsson-Kanyama A. (Eds.), is published by the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI). This researcher has undertaken a number of fascinating studies into the GHG impacts of the food chain.
"Environmental information in the food supply system" (2006), by Annika Carlsson-Kanyama, Fuentes C. & Carlsson-Kanyama A. (Eds.), is published by the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI). This researcher has undertaken a number of fascinating studies into the GHG impacts of the food chain.

The report covers the following:

  1. The Swedish supply chain and the role of different actors - this is fairly similar to the UK situation.
  2. The perceptions of and use of environmental information in the food supply chain by purchasers
    • the report distinguishes between commercial and public food service institutions (eg. local authorities)
    • it looks at four different approaches to environmental info - finance oriented, regulation oriented, customer oriented and quality control oriented - and shows how these limit environmentally-preferable choices
    • it suggests that negative info (ie this product is bad for the environment) can be more effective in altering purchasing behaviour than positive info (this is good for the environment) although in most cases price dominates decision making
      carrots, chicken, environmental impact, environmental information, farmer's-markets, price, supply chain, Sweden, tomatoes
    • it highlights the difficulties of environmental decision making given the fragmented nature of the food supply chain (ie. everyone is responsible for his/her patch and no more) and the various price/regulatory/quality etc pressures some of which can work against the environment
  3. It highlights LCAs of six different products - tomatoes, carrots, onions, broccoli, pulses and frozen chicken - and finds that there is no simple correlation between distance and environmental impact
  4. It explores three different scenarios for the way the food system could go – 'Pricehunter', 'Green and global' and the 'Eco-friendly farmers' market' and looks at the environmental implications of these.
 

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