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Food Miles, Carbon Footprinting and their potential impact on trade

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  • Saunders, Caroline M.
  • Barber, Andrew
  • Sorenson, Lars-Christian

Abstract

To obtain market access for NZ food exports to high value developed country markets exporters are having to comply and consider environmental factors such as carbon footprinting. This growth in demand for environmental attributes is shown in the rise of the food miles debate or concept. Food miles is a concept which has gained traction with the popular press arguing that the further food travels the more energy is used and therefore carbons emissions are greater. This paper assesses, using the same methodology, whether this is the case by comparing NZ production shipped to the UK with a UK source. The study found that due to the different production systems even when shipping was accounted for NZ dairy products used half the energy of their UK counterpart and in the case of lamb a quarter of the energy. In the case of apples the NZ source was 10 per cent more energy efficient. In case of onions whilst NZ used slightly more energy in production the energy cost of shipping was less than the cost of storage in the UK making NZ onions more energy efficient overall. The paper then explores other developments in market access to developed markets especially the rise in demand for products to be carbon footprinted and the introduction of carbon labelling. A review of latest methodology in carbon footprinting the PAS from the UK is reviewed and implications for trade assessed.

Suggested Citation

  • Saunders, Caroline M. & Barber, Andrew & Sorenson, Lars-Christian, 2009. "Food Miles, Carbon Footprinting and their potential impact on trade," 2009 Conference (53rd), February 11-13, 2009, Cairns, Australia 48051, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aare09:48051
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