Researchers from the University of York, as part of a UK-wide network, will bring together academics, industry leaders, government bodies and members of the public to tackle the greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture and food industry.
According to the latest research, the UK food industry is responsible for almost a quarter of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. This is an area that needs to be addressed if the country is to achieve its net zero goals by 2050.
The network, led by the Universities of York, West of England, Leeds and East Anglia, will bring together UK researchers in a £4million initiative to explore effective ways to to help industry reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and improve its environmental sustainability.
It will also help the UK agri-food industry improve biodiversity and maintain healthy ecosystems, as well as support livelihoods, support healthy consumption habits and minimize the environmental impacts of foreign trade.
Professor Sarah Bridle, Food, Climate and Society Chair in the Department of Environment and Geography, University of York, said: “There is a need to make our food industry more sustainable and resilient, as the production of our food is a major cause of climate change. , and because food production can be severely disrupted by extreme weather events associated with climate change.
“The network will help connect researchers with food producers and policy makers, some of whom have never met before, or even worked on food before, and support them to create new relevant collaborations. .
“We will work together to identify future scenarios for the food system, including the impacts of climate change, and create a roadmap for future research to support the necessary transformation of the UK food system.”
Agribusiness is more than agriculture alone and involves the journey from farm to fork and beyond, including manufacturing, retail, consumption and waste management. Work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industry requires expertise in a range of research disciplines, including agricultural, biological, natural, environmental, physical, engineering, economic and social sciences.
The network is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), UK Research and Innovation and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC); Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC); and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
EPSRC Executive Chair Professor Dame Lynn Gladden said: “The agricultural food system produces almost a quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions. By bringing together a multidisciplinary team and involving a wide range of stakeholders, this project will explore how the journey from farm to fork could be made more sustainable, helping to meet the UK government’s strategy to achieve net zero here 2050.”
The funding will last for three years, starting in July 2022.