Tackling food waste
- 70% of the food we throw away could be eaten.
- When we grow food we need huge amounts of land, water and energy, which can have a big carbon footprint.
- If we throw this food away, all those carbon emissions have been created for nothing.
- For example, perhaps a tropical forest was cut down to grow soy to feed chickens here in Wales. If that chicken then ends up in the bin, that is a terrible waste, as it’s not just the chicken, but also all the soy feed, water, energy and lost trees within that chicken. This is what is known as ‘embedded emissions’ – the carbon emissions hidden within a product.
Reducing how much we consume
- We can eat less, but better quality meat and dairy, for example, certified organic or 100% grass fed.
- Animals who eat these nature-friendly diets eat either grass or sustainably sourced animal feed, so the likelihood of them eating soy and palm-based feeds from tropical forests is very low.
- We can also try to reuse products and materials as much as possible so we don’t have to keep cutting down trees. For example, we can buy recycled paper and furniture or second-hand items, like books and clothing. This is called the circular economy, where products and materials are kept in circulation as long as possible.
Ethical certifications (eco labels)
- For companies and brands to use an eco label on their product, they have to follow very strict standards. These include things such as, nature-friendly farming, fair pay for farmers and workers, animal health and well-being and no deforestation.
- Eco labels can help us understand if a product or ingredient has a lower social and environmental footprint. (See our quick guide to ethical certifications to find out more).
Currently, no eco label is 100% perfect, but along with the other actions outlined here, they are an essential tool to help us reduce our impact on forests, people and nature.
Using your voice
Making ethical choices for the products we buy, use and eat is not always easy. There are many things that can get in the way. This could be a lack of information due to poor labelling, cost, time or even opportunity. There is only so much we can do as individuals.
This is why the power of our collective voice is so important. We have to shout loudly to make our governments, councils and businesses do their bit to stop tropical deforestation, habitat loss and social impacts.
- For governments, this could be by strengthening legislation to protect forests, nature and Indigenous Peoples’ rights.
- For local councils, this could be by looking at the food they produce for school meals and improving access to healthy, local and ethically sourced food.
- For food and farming businesses, this could be through their food supply chains or the livestock feed they use to feed their animals.
Everyone has a part to play.