Food choices have a big impact on our carbon footprint. The production, packaging and transportation of food all result in greenhouse gas emissions.

For the majority of people, their food choices are the single, biggest contributor to their personal carbon footprint.  In the workplace, people's energy utilisation and transport choices are typically their largest greenhouse gas contributors. 

 What gives food a high carbon footprint?

1. Animal products
Approximately 60% of greenhouse gases produced from food are generated from animal products.
 
2. Travel
Many foods these days are very well travelled. Often foods which can be sourced locally have come from overseas. Foods that are out of season locally have to be transported from another climate which usually involves many food miles.
 
3. Processing
Food processing consumes energy, water and valuable resources whilst producing a product that needs to be packaged, transported and stored. Refrigeration and freezing consume energy and processing plants generate waste which then requires further processing.
 
4. Farming practices
Artificial pesticides and fertilisers emit greenhouse gases through their production, packaging and transport. These chemicals contaminate water supplies and soil.
 
5. Harvesting practices
Harvesting without concern for ongoing survival of plant and animal species leads to endangerment of species
 
6. Business practices
Ethical farming and fair terms of trade support sustainable businesses, particularly in developing countries.
 

What you can do

1. Have a meat free day each week
2. Purchase fresh, local and seasonal foods
3. Minimise your consumption of processed foods
4. Buy organic and sustainably harvested foods
5. Buy Fair Trade coffee and tea

Resources