Two recent reports were released in the VEIL’s website, discussing the effect of food freight in Australia.
The first work entitled “Understanding Victoria’s Fruit and Vegetable Freight Movements” maps out Victoria’s fruit and vegetable freight movements from production to fork and analyses the greenhouse gas emissions produced through these movements. The analysis is focused only on transport (including refrigeration within transport where required), but it is not an entire LCA.
Some results from this report highlight the following:
1) The overall performance of the Victorian fruit and vegetable distribution resulted in around 133.8 kg of CO2 emissions produced per tonne of fruit transported, and 134.5 kg of CO2 emissions per tonne of vegetable transported. Overall, the supply chain was estimated to produce 134.3 kg of CO2 emissions per tonne of F&V moved.
2) The overall transport emissions for processed F&V were estimated at 190 kg CO2 per tonne, and exceed that for unprocessed F&V. This can be attributed to the additional transport legs to and from the processing centres.
3) Taking uncertainties into account, the carbon footprint from farm-to-fork distribution of fresh F&V consumed in Victoria and sold through greengrocers and supermarkets is likely to fall within 82,214 and 318,976 tonnes CO2 per annum. These results reflect a large data uncertainty –and the extent to which changes in the variables selected for testing in the sensitivity analysis affected the resulting emissions.
4) In the farm-to-fork analysis, the most significant factor in transport GHG emissions for fruit and vegetables was found to be the consumer travel necessary to purchase these goods.
5) The significance of the consumer trips is largely driven by the households located at distances over 5.5 km, despite the fact that these are a minority (less than 20% of the total Victorian households analysed). If the travel distance (or number of trips) of this
minority of households were decreased, this would lead to a substantial decrease in the total F&V carbon footprint.
The authors of this report were Dr Leorey Marquez (CSIRO), Dr Andrew Higgins (CSIRO) and Dr Silvia Estrada-Flores (Food Chain Intelligence). Two scientific publications are being prepared as a result of this report.
The second report is entitled “Best Practice Food Distribution Systems” and discusses measures to drive GHG emissions out of food supply chains by the following players:
· Farmer and consumer led initiatives (e.g. farmers’ markets; coops; online hubs etc);
· Food retailers;
· Food manufacturers and marketers;
· Third party logistics providers; and
· Local councils, State and Federal Governments.
Thirty eight different initiatives were studied and results were extracted for each category, regarding:
· Drivers and motivations;
· Innovative aspects and opportunities;
· Obstacles and challenges; and
· Lessons learned - applicability to future initiatives.
This report highlights a wide range of alternatives that can help to decrease GHG emissions derived from food distribution systems. Rather than advocating for a unique approach to be used to drive emissions out of food supply chains, this report shows that each player in the chain can have a significant role in developing sustainable food distribution systems in a local, national and international level. The opportunities for abatement are significant.
The projects received funding support from the Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development, Sustainability Victoria and Regional Development Victoria, CSIRO and in-kind support from the Department of Transport.