The Welsh Government's Action plan ‘Towards Sustainable Growth: An Action Plan for the Food and Drink Industry 2014-2020’ outlines the positive impacts that sustainable food can have on the economy, environment and society.
Economy - Research by the New Economics Foundation has shown how expenditure of around £10 on local food schemes can generate almost £26 for the local economy, whilst spending £10 in a supermarket only results in a contribution of £14 to the local economy. The more localised the food chain, the greater the return for the producer and others in the local area.
Environment - On a UK basis it is estimated that the energy used for transporting and handling food is between 16-21% of the country’s energy bill, thereby making a significant contribution to greenhouse gases and global warming. Local food can potentially reduce the environmental impact of food processing and distribution ie reducing food miles and also take unnecessary costs out of the supply chain.
Social - The introduction of local food schemes can give communities more ownership and involvement whilst supporting their development. Eating fresh, nutritious food also has health benefits which means less of a strain on the national health service.
Sustainable food procurement therefore includes activities such as specifying goods and services which avoid a negative impact on the environment when produced, consumed or disposed of, minimising waste, encouraging the development of local supply chains where appropriate, and developing key suppliers to themselves embrace sustainable development.
Sustainable food procurement can have positive effects on the environment, economy and society.