Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Theory, methods and tools

There are different ways to analyse and evaluate impacts from food production and consumption. This section highlights papers that introduce specific methodologies, tools and theories that can be used as a guide or reference when developing a research or policy approach.

21 May 2012

The findings of this study are unlikely to surprise anyone – the research is based on experiments carried out in the US and the UK and finds that there is a strong connection in people’s minds between eating meat—especially muscle meat, like steak—and masculinity.

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.

9 May 2012

Mexico is the second country in the world to have to have instituted legally binding targets on GHG emission reductions.  The law mandates a reduction in CO2 emissions by 30% below business-as-usual levels by 2020, and by 50% below 2000 levels by 2050 (note that this is a relative target – the UK’s target is an absolute one)

9 May 2012

Carbon dioxide and global climate change are largely invisible, and the prevailing imagery of climate change is often remote (such as ice floes melting) or abstract and scientific (charts and global temperature maps). Using visual imagery such as 3D and 4D visualizations of future landscapes, community mapping, and iconic photographs, this book demonstrates new ways to make carbon and climate change visible  in our own backyards and local communities.

25 April 2012

The International Trade Centre (ITC) has published a new technical paper on Product Carbon Footprinting Standards in the Agri-Food Sector. The paper aims to guide exporters of agricultural products through the process of product carbon footprinting (PCF) so as to make it easier for them to understand the processes involved, improve their environmental performance and ultimately to reduce the costs for their business.

13 April 2012

This interesting study, commissioned by Unilever presents the range of GWP (global warming potential) values for 27 crops grown worldwide, looking both at the variability of values for the same crop across countries as well as differences between crops. 

9 March 2012

This study calculates and maps humanity’s green, blue and grey water footprint at a high spatial resolution. 

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. 

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).

29 February 2012

This study finds, unlike many LCAs, that the environmental (including GHG) impacts of the grass-based dairy farm are lower than for the farm where livestock are confined.  The area of land required is also lower in the grass-based than in the confinement based farm.

17 February 2012

This paper looks at the GHG, energy and biodiversity implications of different types of farming systems, taking into account alternative possible uses, and environmental implications of those uses, for any land freed by more intensive production practices (the opportunity cost). 

17 February 2012

In the FCRN newsletter of 9 February 2012 we reported on Tesco’s announcement, as covered by the Guardian and others, that it would no longer be putting carbon labels on its products.  However, since then Tesco has published a letter in the Grocer, clarifying its position.

9 February 2012

This paper, by FCRN mailing list member Mike Berners-Lee and others, examines the GHG implications of different dietary choices.

16 January 2012

An article in Foodnavigator suggests that smart barcodes will replace eco labels, as they have the potential to provide shoppers with a far greater amount of information than a pack label can.

6 December 2011

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.

Pages