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The UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) recently released a statement saying that by the end of 2015 all palm oil used in central Government food and catering services will come from environmentally friendly sources. However, Defra’s statement has come under fire from groups such as WWF-UK and the British Retail Consortium (BRC), who say the agreement is too weak and requires participation by other sectors to have a substantial impact.
India’s Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation recently released the report Children in India 2012, which found that child malnutrition is so severe in India that 48% of children under five are stunted. Moreover, 19.8% of children in the same age group suffer from acute malnutrition, as evidenced by wasting.
The full report can be found here.
Defra has published the results of a study which looked at the environmental impact of consuming foods that are produced locally in season. One of Defra’s current high level environmental behaviour goals is for consumers to eat more food that is locally in season.
Australia managed to pass a national carbon pricing scheme into legislation, which came into effect in July of this year. The “Clean Energy Plan” involves a temporary CO2-equivalent tax for three years, followed by an emissions trading scheme aimed at producing strong growth and low pollution.
This report details the results of a study commissioned by Natural England – it looks at how some of the options under the UK’s Environmental Stewardship scheme provide various ecosystem services which are important to agricultural production and productivity.
The Bioenergy Strategy commits the UK Government to further work to investigate the merits of temporarily flexing or otherwise relaxing biofuels mandates at times of agricultural price pressures. The current paper presents work by Defra analysts to explore some of the potential implications of this idea.
Defra’s Green Food Project has published its report. This project was tasked to consider how production and consumption could change in the future, and whether/how it was possible to reconcile the goals of increasing production and improving the environment.
According to figures published by the European Environment Agency, greenhouse gas emissions increased in 2010, as a result of both economic recovery in many countries after the 2009 recession and a colder winter.
Nonetheless, emissions growth was somewhat contained by continued strong growth in renewable energy sources. For more information see here.
The UK’s Environmental Audit Committee has published its report on Sustainable Food. Its member MPs conclude that “Government must develop a joined-up strategy to change the UK's unhealthy and environmentally damaging food system, as fears mount about global food security.”
This report, published by DEFRA, summarises the work that is underway by different livestock sectors to deliver greater sustainability; provides an overview of industry and government progress and activity of relevance to livestock stakeholders; and highlights the Government’s investment in promoting sustainable agriculture abroad.
The Danish EPA has compiled guidance for policy-makers aiming to promote SCP in the food retailing sector. It states that “Government has an important enabling role to play in using policy levers to support the development of a business case for manufacturers and retailers to produce and deliver more sustainable products.
PBL, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, has published a new report arguing that the impact of the proposed greening measures of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on the sustainable development of agriculture appears to be relatively small.
Through its commitments in the Natural Environment White Paper (NEWP), the UK government has made a commitment to identify how the UK can increase food production in ways that improve the environment. Defra is doing this through the Green Food Project, an initiative that involves stakeholders from the farming and food sectors, the service industry and the environmental sector.
Poorer families in Britain have cut the amount of fruit and vegetables they buy by almost a third to consume little over half the recommended five portions per day. Households in the lowest income bracket consistently bought smaller and smaller quantities of fruit and vegetables between 2006 and 2010, the most recent year for figures released by DEFRA.
The European Environment Agency has published a study on environmental tax reform (ETR). ETR is defined as 'reform of the national tax system where there is a shift of the burden of taxes, for example on labour, to environmentally damaging activities, such as resource use or pollution'.
The UK Government’s Carbon Plan was published in December 2011. It sets out how government’s proposals and policies for meeting the first four carbon budgets - legally binding limits on the amount of emissions that may be produced in successive five-year periods, beginning in 2008.
Defra has launched a £20m ‘Farm and Forestry Improvement’ fund as part of its revisions to the Rural Development Programme for England. Open for grant applications of between £2,500 and £25,000, the scheme will focus on themes including nutrient management, energy efficiency, water harvesting and animal health.
Applicants have to show the funding will help them to improve the health and welfare of farm animals or save, recycle or reuse rainwater.
If you only read one report highlighted in this section – read this. It’s a study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change as supporting research for the publication of its latest Annual Report and is a really fascinating piece of work.