Wednesday 18 September 2019

Just 9pc of us think of our carbon footprint when food shopping


Stock photo: PA
Stock photo: PA

Allison Bray

Less than one in 10 Irish consumers considers the issue of carbon footprint when they buy food, a survey reveals.

An online survey of 2,000 Irish adults between the ages of 18 and 65, conducted in April, found that just 9pc of Irish consumers consider the effect of their food purchases on carbon emissions.

Yet 82pc of respondents said consumers needed to change how food was produced and consumed in order to minimise climate change.

Some 92.2pc of consumers believe Ireland is worthy of its "world-renowned reputation" for producing high-quality dairy products, but almost 42pc said they believe the dairy sector has a negative effect on climate change.

However, close to 60pc of respondents said they believe the dairy sector can help people consume food in a more sustainable way.

The survey, commissioned by the European Milk Forum, was conducted in six markets, including the island of Ireland, France, Denmark and Belgium as part of the organisation's campaign to promote dairy industry sustainability.


Despite the low percentage of Irish consumers who consider carbon emissions, the majority of Irish respondents said they believe it is up to consumers themselves to take responsibility for reducing emissions.

This contrasted with their European counterparts, who believe it is the responsibility of industry.

National Dairy Council chief executive Zoe Kavanagh said the Sustainable Dairy in Europe project is a "strategic action plan" that encourages farmers to "produce dairy in a more sustainable way using new farming practices that reduce their impact on the environment".

However, she added the Irish dairy sector has "one of the lowest carbon footprints internationally, primarily due to the unique grass-fed, family based Irish farming system, which is extremely efficient".

She said she was also "heartened" by the respondents' endorsement of Irish dairy products.

Irish Independent

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