Reducing food emissions

How do we reduce food emissions without unintended consequences on health or wider sustainability?

The challenge

With agri-food supply chains responsible for 25-30% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the world (IPCC, 2019), humanity faces the urgent need to alter the way food is produced and consumed. This recognition has led to recommendations that our dietary choice should primarily be guided by their carbon footprints, justifying policy interventions to facilitate, amongst other changes, a shift from animal-based to plant-based protein sources (Springmann et al., 2017; Säll, 2018).

Oversimplistic interpretation of this message, however, poses a societal risk of inviting malnutrition (Willett et al., 2019; McAuliffe et al., 2020), caused for example by generally low bioavailability of micronutrients found in plant-based meat alternatives (Barré et al., 2018), as well as broader sustainability issues such as reduced soil fertility, biodiversity and water quality.

What we're doing and how it helps

We are using food consumption data from the Bristol area as an initial case exemplar to identify effective communication methods to induce low carbon food choices without incurring unintended consequences on health or wider sustainability.


  • Dr Taro Takahashi (PI), Bristol Veterinary School
  • Louise Rutterford, School of Biological Sciences
  • Dr Angeliki Papadaki, School for Policy Studies
  • Professor Jeff Brunstrom, School of Psychological Science


Image credit: Jan Nijman from Pixabay

Taro Takahashi Lead researcher profile

Professor Taro Takahashi, Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Livestock Systems and Food Security


  • Cabot Institute for the Environment Innovation Fund
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