Air freighting food raises concerns about its contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and consequently its contribution to climate change. This has prompted calls to reduce the practice of flying food to fill supermarket shelves. However, that could harm communities in poor countries who depend on horticultural exports.
Civil society groups have led public debate in the UK on this dilemma and the different groups have issued contrasting advice. As a result, retailers’ responses have ranged from labelling air freighted produce to defending its international development benefits.
Retailers and civil society groups share the view that a more consistent approach to air freight could better serve the environment, development and consumers. Government can lead the way by creating policies, penalties and incentives to drive better environmental and ethical performance.
Priorities for intervention include: