Climate change updates 2007
Sustain has taken a keen interest in the rapidly accumulating evidence about the contribution of food and farming to climate change. These pages record recent activity on this issue. For enquiries about this material, contact Sustain's policy director, Kath Dalmeny, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Autumn 2007London's climate change action plan
London Food Link submitted a paper prepared by Sustain's deputy coordinator Kath Dalmeny to the Mayor's Greater London Authority team, summarising the evidence for the links between the food system and climate change, and possible policies that the Mayor could consider as part of London's forthcoming review of its Climate Change Action Plan (the first draft having failed to mention food). A copy of Sustain's paper 'Food and London's Climate Change Action Plan' can be downloaded below. The GLA climate change team, working with the Food Strategy Unit of the LDA, are now likely to commission a paper.
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Meat, dairy and climate change
There is a growing body of evidence, and increasing public attention, on the significant contribution of intensive meat and dairy production to climate change. Jeanette has put this issue on the Food Standards Agency’s agenda, as part of their consultation on reducing fat and saturated fat in the food chain. The FSA is planning to take a similar approach with fat, as with their programme with reducing salt so this is potentially far-reaching.
Friends of the Earth has published a very useful briefing paper on food and climate change.
Download 160Kb pdf
Summer 2007Climate-friendly guidance
Sustain staff have been reviewing how to integrate climate change considerations into our work. We have started to draft a general Sustain position paper on food and climate change, from which we aim to develop a number of specific materials.
An initial list of seven key things that people can do to eat a climate-friendly diet has been developed (turned into a photocopiable leaflet for local events), with the principles:
- Eat more plants;
- Eat less meat;
- Eat in season;
- Don’t waste food;
- Buy local and fair-trade;
- Leave the car;
- Support good companies that tell you about their environmental performance and promise to improve.
Kath has responded to a British Standards Institute consultation document on sustainable event management standards (see also our separate web page on food labelling, which includes a section on carbon labelling).
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Sustainable catering policy
Sustain has begun a review of its own catering policy, and also how this could be communicated in a more user-friendly manner, for adoption by other organisations. We are keen to ensure that the new focus on carbon reduction - whilst crucial and understandable - does not result in inadvertent sustainablity problems through lack of due attention to sustainable development. We hope to use our sustainable food guidelines to help people understand how a low-carbon food system can be achieved by straightforward steps, without compromising on food safety, protection of precious resources such as fish stocks, animal welfare and economic development for poor countries.
Organic standards and airfreight
Sustain contributed to discussions with the Soil Association certification department, on the issue of airfreight of organic food. Information about 'airfreight of food' can be found on a separate page.
Food Ethics Council
Kath contributed an article on the 'Low Carb Diet' to the Food Ethics Council's summer edition of its magazine.
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Spring 2007Climate change events
Sustain's deputy coordinator Kath Dalmeny has attended and contributed to several climate change events over recent weeks, including:
- The Soil Association annual conference, focusing on climate change and peak oil;
- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientific evidence conference at the Royal Society;
- A climate change information Masterclass with Tara Garnett from the Food Climate Research Network and Sainsbury’s buyers;
- The Carbon Trust’s launch of the new carbon labelling scheme for consumer products;
- The launch of the Mayor’s Climate Change Action Plan for London.
London's climate change action plan
Sustain coordinator Jeanette Longfield and London Food Link project officer Zeenat Anjari met with London Assembly Member Murad Qureshi to discuss food’s absence from the capital’s climate change action plan. Kath is currently drafting a ‘climate change and food’ briefing paper to enable effective campaign activities, including Ben’s efforts to encourage inclusion of food in green procurement codes.
Winter 2006-07Proposal for a Sustain policy on greener travel
Sustain's deputy coordinator Kath Dalmeny, who has a particular interest in tackling climate change, undertook to draw up a Greener Travel Policy for Sustain in 2007. The policy was approved by Council and adopted by Sustain in January 2007.
Climate change and the media
January 2007 has seen an upsurge in media interest, especially on food and climate change. We have helped many media enquirers, including most of the national broadsheets, and the New Statesman, and Kath appeared on Channel 4 News. This was in response to David Cameron and David Miliband’s speeches on “food patriotism” and sustainable farming respectively, and the implications for trade with poor countries. It was impressive to see both former Sustain Chair, Tim Lang, and Sustain’s deputy coordinator Kath Dalmeny appearing on the same prime-time newscast - showing how far Sustain has come in placing its members and its issues at the heart of public debate.
This high-profile coverage has led to approaches from several conference organisers and university departments for speakers and additional information, and from Sainsbury’s – for Kath and Tara Garnett of the Food Climate Research Network (for which Kath has acted as a facilitator) to brief buyers on climate change and what they could do to address concerns. Kath will also be giving a presentation on how marketing could help to increase demand for sustainable food, at the forthcoming Sustainable Food Lab conference in London in February.
Airfreight of food
In November, Kath coordinated a successful seminar for the Department for International Development (DfID) on airfreight of fresh horticultural produce from least developed countries. Seminar presentations and notes are available on the separate airfreight of food page.