Research and Resources

Explore sustainability-related research and resources here, including recently released reports, journal articles, online tools and databases. Use the left sidebar to filter resources by theme.

This paper in the Journal of Cleaner Production examines claims that buying 'local food' provides ecological, health and socio-economic benefits. A selection of 14 local and global food products in four sectors within four European countries. The paper finds that 'global foods' presented substantial advantages in terms of climate change mitigation and affordability to consumers.

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Impact of palm oil production on orangutans in Borneo

By Robert Lyons on 30th August 2017

A new report by the International Institute for Environment and Development examines the impact of the palm oil industry, which has contributed significantly to the economic development of Indonesia and Malaysia, but has also caused widespread deforestation of ecosystems renowned for their biodiversity, as well as conflicts with indigenous peoples.

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Most countries lose out with forest-to-farm conversions

By Robert Lyons on 30th August 2017

Study finds deforestation in Latin America, insular South-East Asia (which include Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Timor Leste) and Madagascar derived low agricultural benefits and high environmental costs.

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This modelling study, published in Nature Plants, suggests that while climate change could have a serious adverse effect on current coffee-growing areas, a shift of production to uphill areas could increase production fourfold. 

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This thematic issue of Science for Environment Policy presents recent peer-reviewed research examining the impact of AES on European farming, with a particular focus on biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. AES have been shown to benefit a range of animals and plants by increasing the number of individuals and species. However, as with all measurements involving complex ecosystems, the findings and causal links are nuanced, and sometimes difficult to isolate.

The authors of this paper compare the impact of intensification in the beef and dairy sectors via two pathways; either intensification within a system (eg, a mixed crop-livestock system) or through transitioning to another more productive system (from pasture to mixed crop-livestock production) and assesses the mitigation potential that could arise. The paper reviews the impacts of these forms of intensification on both GHG emissions, land occupation and land use change (LUC), the last of which has often been excluded in other similar analyses.  

This new report offers a clear account of global pesticide use in agriculture and its impact on human rights; the negative consequences that pesticide practices have had on human health, the environment and society, which are underreported and monitored in the shadow of a prevailing and narrow focus on “food security”, are described; and the environmental and human rights regimes are examined to determine whether the constituent rules are sufficient to protect farm workers, consumers and vulnerable groups, as well as the natural resources that are necessary to support sustainable

Landlines: why we need a strategic approach to land

By Robert Lyons on 14th March 2017

This new CPRE pamphlet argues that the case for a national approach to land use is more pressing than ever by showing that England’s land is under an increasing multitude of pressures. The current, fragmentary approach to land use is failing to address the problems caused by often conflicting demands: environmental degradation, rising costs and harm to health and wellbeing.

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Losses, inefficiencies and waste in the global food system

By Robert Lyons on 27th February 2017

A new paper published in Agricultural Systems examines system losses quantified from primary production to human food requirements. The study finds that 44% of harvested crops dry matter was lost prior to human consumption. The highest loss rate was in livestock production, but the largest losses were before harvest. Over-eating is also at least as large a contributor to food system losses as consumer waste.

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A new report by the Environmental Audit Committee suggests that protections for wildlife and habitats could be weaker after the UK leaves the EU if the Government doesn’t take action before, or in the early stages of the Article 50 process. The MPs looked at the legislative, trade, and financial issues and make recommendations for action to secure the future of the natural environment. They call on the Government to allow full parliamentary scrutiny of its plans for the future of environmental legislation after Brexit.

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