Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Food Miles Research Good News For Exporters

Hon Jim Anderton
Minister of Agriculture
Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Trade

14 September 2006

Food Miles Research Good News For Exporters

Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton and Trade Minister Phil Goff today welcomed the findings of a report debunking the concept of food miles - the theory that the further food has to travel to market, the worse its impact on the environment.

"The concept of food miles is both flawed and too often promoted by those motivated by self-serving objectives rather than genuine environmental concerns," Jim Anderton said. "It is being used in Europe by self interested parties trying to justify protectionism in another guise."

"The Lincoln University report, completed in July 2006, found the production of key New Zealand agricultural exports was more energy efficient. It resulted in fewer emissions than the same primary products produced in Europe. This was even after taking into account the distance New Zealand exports have to travel to reach key markets," Phil Goff said.

"The Lincoln University report also found that in the case of dairy and sheepmeat production, for example, New Zealand is more energy efficient including the cost of transporting the products to the UK.

"European research has also shown that food miles are not a good measure of environmental impact. A study by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has concluded that a single indicator based on total miles or kilometres is an inadequate indicator of environmental sustainability," Phil Goff said.

"The Lincoln University report follows a comprehensive approach. It shows that when consideration is given to New Zealand farming methods and the total amount of energy used, especially in the production phase, the overall picture is one of New Zealand producers being more energy efficient and creating fewer emissions. This is even after the energy consumed by transport is taken into account", said Jim Anderton.

An executive summary of The Lincoln University report; 'Food Miles – Comparative Energy / Emissions Performance of New Zealand's Agriculture Industry' is attached.

The full report can be found online at: http://www.lincoln.ac.nz/story_images/2328_RR285_s6508.pdf

Food Miles – Comparative Energy/Emissions Performance of
New Zealand’s Agriculture Industry


Executive Summary

Caroline Saunders
Andrew Barber
Greg Taylor

July 2006

Executive summary

- Food miles is a very simplistic concept relating to the distance food travels as a measure of its impact on the environment. As a concept food miles has gained some traction with the popular press and certain groups overseas. However, this debate – which only includes the distance food travels – is misleading as it does not consider total energy use, especially in the production of the product.

- The food miles concept has the potential to threaten New Zealand exports, given New Zealand’s geographical location. Around a third of New Zealand’s food and beverage exports are destined for EU markets. The solution proposed by food miles campaigners is to source food from as close to where it will be finally consumed as possible.

- This study looks at the environmental impact of some key New Zealand export products. The environmental impact calculations in this report are based upon a life cycle assessment (LCA) type approach and include the energy use and CO2 emissions associated with farm production and transport to the UK. This is a much more valid comparison than just distance travelled as it reflects the differences in countries’ production systems. These were then compared to the next best alternative source for the UK market. The products examined were dairy, apples, onions, and lamb.

- The analysis therefore first identified the farm production system in New Zealand and the relevant EU country which could be used as an alternative source of supply to the UK market. In general, data on production systems and energy use was much more comprehensive for New Zealand than for the alternative EU country. This has led to the New Zealand estimates of energy use and emission associated with production being more inclusive than those for the alternative EU country.

- Comparison of energy used and CO2 emissions between NZ and UK Dairy. The UK uses twice as much energy per tonne of milk solids produced than NZ, even including the energy associated with transport from NZ to the UK This reflects the less intensive production system in NZ than the UK, with lower inputs including energy.

- Comparison of energy used and CO2 emissions between NZ and UK Lamb. The energy used in producing lamb in the UK is four times higher than the energy used by NZ lamb producers, even after including the energy used in transporting NZ lamb to the UK. Thus, NZ CO2 emissions are also considerably lower than those in the UK.

- Comparison of energy used and CO2 emissions between NZ and UK Apples. NZ is also more energy efficient in producing and delivering apples to the UK market than the UK is. NZ energy costs for production are a third of those in the UK. Even when transport is added NZ energy costs are approximately 60 per cent of those in the UK. Consequentially the CO2 emissions per tonne of apples produced are also higher in the UK than in NZ, reflecting the higher energy use but also the lower emissions from NZ electricity generation.

- Comparison of energy used and CO2 emissions between NZ and UK Onions. The energy associated with onion production is higher in NZ compared with the UK. However, when storage is included for the UK, so they can supply the same market window as NZ can, the UK energy costs rise to 30 per cent higher than those in NZ, even accounting for transport.

- The report assumes that it is possible for other countries to supply UK market at current cost with produce of similar type and quality. This, of course, may not be the case given limited capacity of production, seasonal factors and different production environments.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news