International trade related food miles – The case of Canada
At the beginning of the 21st century imports of agricultural and food commodities have become a major part of many nations’ food baskets. Indeed the global food system has several merits for nations, businesses and individual consumers’ well-being. However, as increasing evidence suggests that we are approaching an era of climate change and scarcity of cheap energy sources the sustainability of that system must be examined. One part of any food commodity chain is its ‘food miles’ – the distance the commodity travels from point of production to point of consumption, the required energy and resulting emissions. This paper presents a 1 year ‘snapshot’ of Canada’s total import related food miles. It presents an analysis of the distance imported foods traveled from around the world to major points of consumption in Canada and documents the equivalent carbon dioxide emissions related to those imports. It presents both a macro scale picture of the equivalent emissions related to transportation of imported food and a micro scale picture which focuses on specific commodities consumed in various parts of the country. It then discusses policy implications for food sustainability. Overall the research highlights that about 30% of the agricultural and food commodities consumed in Canada are imported, resulting in ‘food miles’ of over 61billiontonneskm, leading to annual emissions of 3.3 million metric tonnes of CO2. Of the various agriculture and food commodities studied, fruits and vegetables had the highest food miles related emissions.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Kissinger, Meidad & Rees, William E., 2009. "Footprints on the prairies: Degradation and sustainability of Canadian agricultural land in a globalizing world," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(8-9), pages 2309-2315, June.
- Princen, Thomas, 1997. "The shading and distancing of commerce: When internalization is not enough," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 235-253, March.
- Ken Conca, 2001. "Consumption and Environment in a Global Economy," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 1(3), pages 53-71, 08.
- Coley, David & Howard, Mark & Winter, Michael, 2009. "Local food, food miles and carbon emissions: A comparison of farm shop and mass distribution approaches," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 150-155, April.
- Huang, Hsin & von Lampe, Martin & van Tongeren, Frank, 2011.
"Climate change and trade in agriculture,"
Elsevier, vol. 36(S1), pages S9-S13.
- Carlsson-Kanyama, Annika, 1998. "Climate change and dietary choices -- how can emissions of greenhouse gases from food consumption be reduced?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(3-4), pages 277-293, November.
- Peter Dauvergne, 2008. "The Shadows of Consumption: Consequences for the Global Environment," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262042460, March.
- Garnett, Tara, 2011. "Where are the best opportunities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the food system (including the food chain)?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(S1), pages S23-S32.
- Wiedmann, Thomas & Lenzen, Manfred & Turner, Karen & Barrett, John, 2007. "Examining the global environmental impact of regional consumption activities -- Part 2: Review of input-output models for the assessment of environmental impacts embodied in trade," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 15-26, February.
- Princen, Thomas, 1999. "Consumption and environment: some conceptual issues," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 347-363, December.
- Garnett, Tara, 2011. "Where are the best opportunities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the food system (including the food chain)?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(Supplemen), pages S23-S32, January.
- Peters, Glen P., 2008. "From production-based to consumption-based national emission inventories," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 13-23, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:37:y:2012:i:2:p:171-178. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.