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Sustainability of diets: From concepts to governance

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  • Vinnari, Markus
  • Tapio, Petri
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    Abstract

    The production of food for consumption produces environmental stress and raises ethical issues. As humans are able to choose different foodstuffs in their diets, food consumption guidance may have large benefits for the environment. Meat consumption is often identified as the most environmentally harmful foodstuff to produce and animal welfare and rights issues are receiving ever more attention. By combining both issues, this article proposes a conceptual framework for combining alternative dietary habits and agricultural production styles in general environmental policy strategies. Two means to lower meat consumption are proposed: 1) Redeveloping the Pigouvian food taxation system introduced by Goodland (1997), in which foodstuffs are taxed according to their environmental burden. An elaborated version could also include an ethical tax that incorporates consumers' attitudes on animal welfare and a coefficient that takes into account the inherent value of animals; 2) Taking the composition of a national stockpile as a starting point and designing the agricultural production system from a combined environmental and ethical perspective. In this system, the environmentally and ethically preferable foodstuffs would be purchased by the government and sold to the global markets. The premiums between these two prices would constitute the subsidies for the national production.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800911005283
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 74 (2012)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 46-54

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:74:y:2012:i:c:p:46-54

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

    Related research

    Keywords: Ecotax; Ethical tax; Sustainability; Inherent value; Food ethics; Deep modernization; Agriculture;

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    Cited by:
    1. Chiara Lombardini & Leena Lankoski, 2013. "Forced Choice Restriction in Promoting Sustainable Food Consumption: Intended and Unintended Effects of the Mandatory Vegetarian Day in Helsinki Schools," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 159-178, June.
    2. Marthe Austgulen, 2014. "Environmentally Sustainable Meat Consumption: An Analysis of the Norwegian Public Debate," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 45-66, March.
    3. Mikael Hildén & Pekka Jokinen & Jyrki Aakkula, 2012. "The Sustainability of Agriculture in a Northern Industrialized Country—From Controlling Nature to Rural Development," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(12), pages 3387-3403, December.

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