Decarbonisation of the Food System

University of Reading

School of the Built Environment

Project Description

As the world transitions to a low carbon economic system, dramatic changes will be required across the all sectors. The food system, which is currently estimated to be responsible for 20-30% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, is one where particular urgency is required. Mohareb et al (2018) found that urban areas have strong influence over the majority of emissions in an industrialised food system. For example, decisions around the carbon-intensity of the electricity grid can have a substantial impact on the delivery of nutrition, given how ubiquitous electricity demand is throughout the supply chain and points of consumption. As well, last mile collection of groceries has a disproportionate impact on food system GHGs.

This research project incorporates topics that explore the quantification of food system GHG emissions from an urban perspective, toward understanding food system configurations that enable triple bottom line sustainability in delivering high-quality nutrition to consumers. Topics to be explored include GHG mitigation from food manufacturers, the role of urban agriculture in improving food system sustainability performance, as well as topics examining life cycle analyses of dietary choices. The overarching theme to all topics examined will be the framing of food delivery as a system with upstream and downstream impacts occurring from changing system configurations.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level in a numerate discipline, ideally with a relevant MSc qualification.

Quantitative analysis skills, experience on food systems-related research/degree as well as sustainability topics

References

Environ. Sci. Technol.2018, 52, 10, 5545-5554 (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.7b02600)

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