Our Top Stories
Academics call for plant-based diets: The Guardian reports on the 650+ academics who have called on British universities to commit to 100% plant-based catering, saying that the institutions have “for centuries, been shining lights of intellectual, moral, and scientific progress”. The open letter, organised by the student-led Plant-Based Universities campaign, has been sent to UK university vice-chancellors, catering managers, and student union presidents. The demands are backed up by the growing pile of evidence that presents cutting meat consumption as the single biggest way for people to reduce their impact on the planet. [The Guardian]
Withdrawing from the Energy Treaty: The UK is considering withdrawing from the contentious Energy Charter Treaty, to allow for a faster transition to clean energy systems. Edie sheds light on the faults within the Treaty that make it difficult to move away from fossil fuels. The UK would be following a well trodden path, as Portugal, Spain, Germany, and France already pulled out almost a year ago. Net-Zero Review Author Chris Skidmore MP has been urging the government to act swiftly for months now, stating that the UK’s withdrawal “cannot come soon enough”. [Edie]
Combining AI and sustainability: Google is looking to unleash the potential of AI to help businesses mitigate their climate impact. According to Sustainability Magazine, Google has now built in AI map tools that help users make decisions about the effectiveness of solar panels on rooftops in their area, and to monitor air quality to a more accurate degree. As climate change accelerates, our need for innovation continues to become more pronounced, with broken global systems requiring an immediate shift to greater sustainability. [Sustainability Magazine]
Business Spotlight - Asda
Asda has become the first British retailer to stock salad grown in vertical farms. The new farming technique has been on the rise for the past few years, in a bid to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture. With innovative technology, vertical farming methods can grow salad for Asda’s stores using 90% less water than traditional farming, while also being powered by 100% renewable energy. Asda has been introducing several new sustainability initiatives of late, and this is just another successful stepping stone on its path to Net Zero. [Farming UK]
Capturing carbon in savannahs: Young Zhou and his team have found that grasses play a more important role in capturing carbon than previously thought. In general, it was believed that the biggest carbon store of savannahs was within the woody trunks and aboveground leaves of trees. In contrast, these latest findings show that a significant portion of carbon in grassy ecosystems, including savannahs, is stored in the soil, primarily within the extensive root systems of grasses, as well as in decaying organic matter. The results will be key in improving ecosystem restoration efforts across the African continent. [Nature]
“UK households could collectively lose up to £5 billion a year if a law blocking large-scale solar farms on productive agricultural land is passed, energy analysts have said.”
The Big Picture
The food and agriculture industry is at the heart of the climate crisis, generating around a third of man-made greenhouse emissions. And while the challenge of reducing its impact may seem beyond our grasp, it is one that we all have the power to tackle.
We believe that the solution lies in climate transparency. That’s why we’re equipping businesses with the means to evaluate and communicate the emissions of their products. This, in turn, means consumers are armed with credible, independent information, which can be used to make more sustainable choices.
We know that many people want to take climate action but lack the necessary tools and information to do so. We're confident that, armed with the right knowledge, everyone can and will do their bit to build a greener, more sustainable food system.