Our global food system has a huge impact on our planet.
Animal agriculture – the production of animal products like meat and dairy – is one of biggest drivers of climate change, and is responsible for 14.5% of all human-induced emissions.
Enormous amounts of land and water are required to produce the food we eat, and vital natural habitats such as rainforests are cleared to make way for crop cultivation and livestock.
Choosing to cut down on the amount of meat we eat, and avoiding environmentally harmful products like palm oil, are some of the most effective things we can do to reduce our environmental impact.
The world is also facing a food waste crisis, with around one third of food produced for human consumption going to waste.
Food waste produces methane gasses which contribute to climate change, and when we waste food, we also waste the resources and land that went in to producing it.
Our sustainable food goals are:
- To reduce carbon emissions by cutting down on meat and animal products.
- To protect and preserve natural habitats by cutting down on red meat consumption, because beef production is highly land-intensive and water-intensive.
- To protect natural carbon sinks, habitats and indigenous land rights by avoiding products containing palm oil.
- To consume locally sourced, seasonal produce as much as possible.
- To support ocean conservation by only consuming fish products that are sustainably sourced.
- To consume fairly-traded produce as much as possible.
- To reduce food waste at home by making the most of the food we buy.
What we can do
Choosing what to eat
- Avoid eating red meat as much as possible
- Cut down meat consumption to once a week or less
- Try going vegetarian
- Try going vegan, or eating a vegan diet some of the time (no meat, dairy products, eggs or fish)
- Check the ingredients of products like cereal, biscuits and peanut butter, and don’t buy them if they contain palm oil
- Shop local and buy seasonal fruit and veg
- When buying seafood, look for the blue MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) label to make sure it’s sustainably sourced
- When buying products like coffee, chocolate and bananas, look for the blue and green Fair Trade label to make sure that the farmers and workers who produce our food receive their fair share of the profits
Reducing food waste
- Plan your meals carefully, and only buy what you know you will use
- Make sure food is stored effectively, in sealed containers in the fridge or according to the instructions on the packaging
- Store leftovers in the freezer – almost anything can be frozen, including sliced bread, chopped fruit and cooked vegetables
- Get creative with your cooking to use up leftover ingredients
Key food stats
Daily CO2 equivalent gasses in kilograms created by person on meat diet in grams
Daily CO2 equivalent gasses in kilograms created by person on veg diet
Equivalent miles driven in petrol car by beef eaters over a year
Equivalent football pitches in square meters cleared per hour in rainforests
Check out these sources to learn more about the impacts of our current food systems, its impact on the planet and what you can do to combat the problem:
- Tackling climate change through Livestock: the aggregate picture
- Climate change and food calculator: what’s your diet’s carbon footprint?
- Questions and answers about palm oil
- Global Food Losses and Food Waste: extent, causes and prevention
- 27 Vegan Recipes for Beginners
- Love Food Hate Waste
- Olio – the food-sharing app that helps you redistribute leftover food