Knowledge for better food systems

Flying Food: responsible retail in the face of uncertainty

Published by the Food Ethics Council in May 2008, Flying Food is based on work with environment and development groups. The document sets out benchmarks for judging the credibility of supermarket attempts to reduce air freight emissions.
Published by the Food Ethics Council in May 2008, Flying Food is based on work with environment and development groups. The document sets out benchmarks for judging the credibility of supermarket attempts to reduce air freight emissions. These include:
  • Placing work on aviation in an overarching environmental strategy that focuses at least as much effort on bigger greenhouse gas hotspots than air freight (responsible for 0.3% of UK greenhouse gases), like meat and dairy production (accounting for 8%);
  • Nurturing open and transparent partnerships for development, including supportive, long-term relationships with suppliers, especially in the poorest parts of the world;
  • Avoiding "carbon hypocrisy", where air freighted produce is replaced with more greenhouse gas-intensive substitutes, even if they have travelled fewer "food miles"
  • Tackling the aspects of air freight that are most widely agreed to be a problem, particularly by improved planning in order to increase flight efficiency and limit "emergency" top-up, where air freight is used to fill unexpected gaps on the shelf.
  • Actively supporting government intervention to reduce market barriers to sustainable behaviour, including ensuring that climate change emissions from aviation are included within UK reduction targets.
 

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