Bon appetit

We are what we eat. So to be truly sustainable we need to eat more sustainably.

For many of us lunch is an opportunity to stop working, eat something tasty and enjoy time with our colleagues.

But it’s worth spending a second thinking about where your food came from and what impacts it might have (other than stopping that rumbling tummy).

The way in way in which food is produced, transported, packaged and prepared can have significant environmental impacts. If you really want to eat well, then keep the following in mind:

  • Choose locally sourced products where available
  • Fairtrade products deliver significant social benefits
  • Easy on the meat – the carbon footprint of meat is significant, so even reducing your meat consumption by a bit will have an impact
  • Choose food products with less packaging
  • Use mugs and glasses instead of disposable cups
  • Drink tap water instead of bottled water
  • Avoid disposable plates, knives and forks

Do you do any of these actions already? Can you suggest any more? Is there more that the UN could be doing to help with this? If so, we want to hear from you…

Down to Earth     Less is More     Switch it Off     Green Champions

Did You Know?

  • Overall, livestock activities contribute an estimated 18% to total anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions from the five major sectors for greenhouse gas reporting: energy, industry, waste, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) and agriculture (Livestock’s Long Shadow, 2006)
  • Livestock contributes about 9% of total carbon dioxide emissions, 37% of methane and 65% of nitrous oxide (Livestock’s Long Shadow, 2006)
  • The livestock sector is a key player in increasing water use and water depletion. The water used by the livestock is over 8% of global human water use. The major part of this water is in fact used for irrigation and feeding crops, representing 7% of global water use (Livestock’s Long Shadow, 2006)

Additional Materials


Livestock's Long Shadow (2006)
This report aims to assess the full impact of the livestock sector on environmental problems, along with potential technical and policy approaches to mitigation. Livestock's contribution to environmental problems is on a massive scale and its potential contribution to their solution is equally large. Click here to download the full report.