Click on the publications listed below to find out more information and download your copy.
- The Food Miles Report - the dangers of long-distance food transport
Re-print of the original 1994 publication, with an updated foreword. Food is being transported longer and longer distances – food miles – from producer to consumer. In the UK, comparatively little of the food we consume comes from local producers; and much will have been transported over great distances. Cheap non-renewable fossil fuel energy makes intensive agriculture and long-distance transportation economically viable, and has allowed food production and distribution to become global industries. Prices in shops do not reflect the full cradle-to-grave environmental and social costs.
But the concept of food miles isn’t just about distances. This report explores some of the wider social and ecological implications of international food trade, and suggests how to reduce excessive, unnecessary food miles.
- The taps are turning - Are we ending our love affair with bottled water?
This publication is a companion to Have you bottled it? How drinking tap water can help save you and the planet, that Sustain published in January 2007. It notes progress since then, here and globally, in encouraging the public and private sectors to use tap water instead of bottled water. It also looks at how the bottled water industry is responding to growing criticism of bottled water for being unnecessary, damaging to the environment, and expensive.
- Have you bottled it? How drinking tap water can help save you and the planet.
Despite bottled water costing around 500 times as much as tap water, analysts predict we will buy more than 2 billion litres this year. Are you going to "bottle out" of your responsibility to the planet, and carry on drinking increasing quantities of bottled water?
- Like shooting fish in a barrel: What we can do to prevent the collapse of world fisheries
The report outlines the health pros and cons of eating fish, summarises the environmental damage caused by both industrial fishing and fish farming, and lays bare the contradictions in government policy at both UK and EU level.
- Eating Oil: Food supply in a changing climate
Eating Oil takes a comprehensive look at how far our food travels and our dependency on imports and on fossil fuels to produce, process, package and distribute food. It shows how our food is travelling ever further both within the UK and through international trade. The fact-packed, 90-page report reveals how such trends could be reversed through industry, government and public action. In 2002 it received the prestigious Guild of Food Writers Award for Investigative Journalism, presented by Derek Cooper.
- Taking the Pith (Food Facts No. 12)
A glass of orange juice can use up 1000 glasses of irrigation water, 22 glasses of processing water and 2 glasses of diesel. We need plenty of fruit in our diet but we don't need to destroy the environment in the process. The report also finds evidence of child labour in the orange picking industry in Brazil and Mexico and worrying levels of pesticide residues on crops. The alternatives, such as fairtrade and organic, are also analysed.
- Fat of the Land (Food Facts No. 11)
With so many vegetable oils to choose from, it is important to know where each oil comes from, its impact on the environment, its nutritional properties and whether it is worth paying the high price demanded for many oils. This report has found an industry which does little to protect the environment or consumer health and in many cases has led a campaign of misinformation.
- Sweet and Sour (Food Facts No. 10)
Consumers in Europe pay inflated prices for their sugar whilst the excess production from Europe is dumped on the world market, depressing prices and causing economic hardship in many poor countries. Meanwhile European beet farmers are still paid large subsidies. This report also reveals that hidden sugars in our food are on the increase.
- Fowl Deeds (Food Facts No. 9)
A chicken meat industry in turmoil: high levels of bacterial contamination, poor welfare standards, poor hygiene standards, the continued use of growth-promoting antibiotics, and miniscule profit margins for the producers - chicken is simply too cheap. These are just some of the issues behind the secret world of the chicken industry, as outlined in this report. Maybe it is worth paying more for your chicken!
- Salad Days (Food Facts No. 8)
This highly publicised report into developments in lettuce production in recent years investigates the impact of changing farming and production techniques on the environment and the potential risk to our health. It also examines the role of major retailers in changing production to extend the seasonal availability of lettuce.
- Bitter Harvest, Bitter Beer (Food Facts No. 7)
This study of the impact of beer production and consumption on people and the environment looks at trends in hop and barley production, and the dynamics of the brewing industry. Our choice of tipple may be less diverse than it appears.
- Carrot Fashion (Food Facts No. 6)
Carrots are Britain’s second most popular vegetable after potatoes and almost all carrots bought are grown in the UK. This report looks at carrot production, in relation to pesticide use, food miles and biodiversity.
- Soya: The Ubiquitous Bean (Food Facts No. 5)
Soya and soya-derived products are used in around 60% of processed foods in the mainstream UK food industry and form the basis of many vegetarian diets. This report looks at the environmental, social and health implications of soya production.
- The Pear Essentials (Food Facts No. 3)
Despite increasing consumer interest in eating more fresh fruit, over half of the nation’s pear orchards have been destroyed in the last thirty years. This reports show how the UK could be using fewer chemicals and growing more varieties of pears.
- How Green are our Apples? (Food Facts No. 4)
Despite increasing consumer interest in eating more fresh fruit, over half of the nation’s apple orchards have been destroyed in the last thirty years. That production which remains in the UK has become more intensive, with Cox’s apples receiving on average 16 pesticide sprays containing 36 active substances. These reports show how the UK could be using fewer chemicals and growing more varieties.
- Where’s the Beef? (Food Facts No. 1)
Increasing competition has intensified beef farming practices, while the BSE crisis and health concerns have caused a decline in beef sales. This report details how intensive beef production may be environmentally damaging, while sustainable, extensive beef rearing can be valuable to health and nature conservation.
- The Perfect Pinta (Food Facts No. 2)
Milk is bought regularly by over 90 per cent of households. This report examines the way milk and other dairy products are produced and the impact this has on the environment, animal welfare and our health.
- Food Miles - Still on the Road to Ruin?
Five years on from the initial report into the impact of food miles, this update assesses how the debate has moved on. It includes: updated statistics and analysis of the effects of pollution, packaging, processing; biodiversity and nutrition; a review of local alternatives and recommendations for action.
You may also be interested in the following
- Water labels on food - Issues and recommendations
In many regions of the world, including parts of Europe, water scarcity will be one of the most pressing environmental, social and economic challenges of the coming decades. This report considers relevant policy and industry initiatives, and the value of labels in promoting sustainable water use and communicating this to consumers. The report ends with recommendations for industry and government.