Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Opportunities for the supply chain to drive a reduction in greenhouse gas ( GHG) emissions in agriculture - FO0434

There is growing awareness within policy, research and business circles of the importance of agricultural processes in driving the life cycle environmental impact of foods across a variety of measures e.g. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water use, biodiversity loss, land use, and waste creation. As a result, an increasing number of supply chain GHG targets and initiatives have been developed by farmer organisations, food manufacturers and retailers.

To support farm GHG reductions, significant financial investment has been made in initiatives including the development of measurement tools, funding of scientific research, environmental benchmarking programmes, product labeling and facilitation of sustainability-focused farmer groups. However few organisations have publicly declared major achievements in reducing farm-level emissions and it is commonly acknowledged to be a very challenging area to address – both in terms of measurement and changing management practice.

This project will provide evidence of the effectiveness of a broad range of supply chain initiatives in reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. The research will explore a broad range of relevant initiatives and best practice (e.g. contractual incentives, capacity building, investment programmes, legislation, etc). This will be achieved through desk-based research and interviews with a cross section of supply chain members and interest groups. The quality and scope of initiatives will be mapped against known GHG emissions to highlight gaps.
The project partners will draw on the research and interviews to provide recommendations on where members of the supply chain should extend and improve interventions to deliver the greatest reduction in farm emissions.
Four principle objectives will be achieved through this research – these are expanded upon in the next section:

No. Objective Consortium Leader(s) Description Completed (estimate)
1 Document initiatives – provide a knowledge baseline BFF Clearly define scope of research, Describe agricultural supply chains; Research and document relevant initiatives via desk-based research and stakeholder interviews; Map initiatives against known GHG hotspots to highlight gaps March 16th 2012
2 Assess GHG reduction effectiveness BFF Assess initiatives highlighted in Objective 1 for their effectiveness in driving GHG reductions; highlighting opportunities for improvement and potential trade-offs April 13th 2012
3 Identify opportunities BFF Identify where the greatest gains can be made and prioritize actions for the supply chain May 4th 2012
4 Summarise GHG measurement BFF Review state of existing GHG estimation methods and propose improvements; cross-reference to findings of Objectives 1-4 May 4th 2012
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : FO0434 Final Report   (1435k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2012

To: 2012

Cost: £106,217
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Best Foot Forward
Fields of Study
Resource Efficient and Resilient Food Chain