3 Strategies to Slash Your Foodprint

The search for solutions to climate change is understandably focused on energy.  But sometimes it’s a bit myopic, particularly in relentlessly looking at the power sector.  Let me illustrate.

Dredging through the data from EDGAR I can see that power generation resulted in 11.4 Gt CO2e in 2010.  This is about a third of global CO2 emissions, or just under a quarter of total greenhouse gas emissions.

By contrast emissions from the food system are estimated to be 12.6 Gt CO2e, greater than from electricity.  Granted these emissions are much more complicated as they involve multiple gases, hard to estimate deforestation emissions and intricate pre and post production calculations.  Nonetheless they deserve more attention.

With that in mind, here a quick graphic highlighting three things an individual can do to tackle their own foodprint.

3 Stategies to Slash Your Foodprint

There is loads that can happen in industry to cut food emissions, but for an individuals it is about what you eat, your food wastage and to a lesser extent food miles.

Personally I think the best place to start is consider what you are wasting, because this is not just unnecessary emissions it is money in the bin.  In the US the average family spends $900 a year on food they waste, in the UK it’s £700 and in Australia it’s over $1,000.

Check out our how to save money on food by wasting less video series for some inspiration.

  • OPatrick

    One caveat on food miles – consider who’s carbon emissions they are. If we buy Kenyan green beans for example is the footprint from the flight ours or the Kenyan farmer’s? The farmer’s footprint is likely to be well below our own and probably at a sustainable level. Given that for much of the last few decades we have been encouraging this kind of enterprise we should be wary of suddenly cutting off an income source without time for adaption and the producers may fairly argue that their footprints are low enough to justify these emissions.

    • Lindsay Wilson

      Indeed. If you click through to my piece on food miles you’ll see I add a similar caveat as follows:

      “Limiting the amount of flying food can be a way to help reduce food transport emissions, but you need to think about those decisions in the proper context. Both in terms of total emissions and economic impact. If you know the food you are eating is shipped in from a far, the chances are those food miles create relatively few carbon emissions while providing valuable income to farmers in Africa, South America and Asia.”