Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Food chain stage

The food chain describes the physical flow of goods from agriculture through processing and distribution, to retailing to eventual consumption and waste disposal. The papers and reports in this category highlight the different issues and impacts associated with each particular stage of the food chain.

21 May 2012

This report examines what part market governance mechanisms (regulatory, fiscal, voluntary and information-related) can or could play in addressing GHG emissions from the food system, focusing on the two extreme ends of the supply chain – the process of  agricultural production, and patterns of consumption.

15 May 2012

This World Health Organisation ppt provides an overview of the causes, trends and impacts of chronic diseases worldwide, and points out very strongly that it’s increasingly a problem affecting poor people in the developing world. You can download the presentation here.

15 May 2012

The UK agricultural industry has published its first report on progress made in delivering its Greenhouse Gas Action Plan.

15 May 2012

Two studies, one in Nature and the other in Science present evidence to demonstrate the importance of biodiversity in maintaining long term ecosystem productivity and sustainability.

15 May 2012

Another article that looks at organic versus conventional yields. It compares yields in both developed and developing world contexts and argues a. the case for a more nuanced approach to considering yield variations and b. for less dogmatism in the debate on sustainable agriculture.

9 May 2012

This pamphlet examines research undertaken by the Fabian Society which was  commissioned and supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The work, through a series of focus groups, explored ways that people's sense of fairness around sustainable consumption and climate change could be used to build public support for behaviour change and sustainability policies.

9 May 2012

Unilever has published its one-year on report on the progress it has made in meeting the commitments it set out in its 2010 Sustainable Living Plan. 

9 May 2012

This paper fish demand in 2050 will be met but only if fish resources are managed sustainably and the animal feeds industry reduces its reliance on wild fish.

2 May 2012

The Soil Association has published 'Just say N2O: From manufactured fertiliser to biologically-fixed nitrogen.' This report reviews the extent to which organic systems can meet the double challenge of reducing nitrogen losses and building stores of soil organic nitrogen so as to reduce dependency on manufactured nitrogen.

25 April 2012

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the European Commission have announced a €5.3 million three-year project to promote “climate-smart” approaches to agriculture. 

25 April 2012

This meta-analysis finds that yields in organic systems are on average 80% that of conventional yields.  This is an analysis at crop level but the researchers suggest that the yield gap could be higher at farm, regional or global level due to the dependence of organic farming on manure and on legumes for soil fertilisation, which in turn reduces yields at the overall system level.

13 April 2012

McDonald's has launched a long term programme to support British and Irish farmers, with efforts to boost the number of young people in the industry and improve environmental and animal welfare standards.

13 April 2012

The goals of this study were to: (a) develop a robust, model-based life-cycle GHG emissions comparison of organic and conventional farming methods for a relatively large selection of crop products;

9 March 2012

The CCAFS (Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security) programme have published a new report that looks at the role and effectiveness of private sector CSR activities in the agricultural sector.

9 March 2012

The Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum has published a study on Scottish produced suspended mussels and intertidal oysters.

The study considered the cradle-to-gate impacts of the shellfish, from spat collection in the case of mussels, and hatching in the case of oysters, through  growing, harvesting, depuration, and packing ready for dispatch.  To illustrate the carbon impacts of the full life cycle, a scenario is included that,  based on various assumptions, illustrates the potential impacts of distribution, retail, consumption and disposal of the shells. 

9 March 2012

This article in Science Daily is based on materials prepared by the French Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)  It argues that Brazil’s reliance on agricultural exports to drive economic growth is environmentally unsustainable and highlights the link between deforestation for cattle grazing, soy production on cleared land which pushes cattle further into the forest, and the sale of high-value timber.  The article states that government controls introduced from the year 2000 have scaled down deforestation from around 20,000 to 6,000 km² per year, but the threat of an increase in world demand is always just over the horizon, with implications for further deforestation.

29 February 2012

The UK dairy sector has published its first report which looks at the carbon footprints of a selection of British dairy farms with a view to establishing a baseline against which progress can be measured.   The study reveals very substantial differences in the GHG footprints expressed as CO2 eq/kg fat corrected milk, of different farms, and also finds that there is more variation between farms, than between production systems.  It also concludes that there is no one variable (eg milk yield, fertiliser use or energy consumption) that accounts for most of the variation between farms.

29 February 2012

An interesting paper confirming what intuition might suggest – that men’s diets have a higher GHG burden than women’s because, (even allowing for the fact that men generally need to eat more) they tend to eat more meat; women’s diets are more water demanding due to their greater consumption of fruit and vegetables (the study looks at irrigation water rather than overall water).

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