This project arose from the need to investigate the relative carbon intensity of locally produced food compared to that transported further but from grown using less fuel.
The objectives for this small project are to understand the supply chains and build a model of them for three food commodities taking account of their environmental burdens. Three scenarios will then be investigated:
- The Baseline: the current supply and distribution
- Changing the structures of distribution: essentially baseline plus all known best practice to optimise the distribution systems.
- Changing the sourcing patterns: examination of more localised sourcing systems but taking account of seasonal availability, financial factors, mileage incurred and other possible impacts elsewhere in the supply chain that might affect uptake of such patterns.
Success would be to find ways of improving the efficiency of current supply chains and for businesses to implement them. Transport 2000, who are leading the project, expect that it will give food suppliers and retailers pointers as to how local sourcing can be environmentally advantageous. If proven, then these companies are likely to adopt these practices and improve the sustainability of their business.