Researchers at Exeter University compared the carbon dioxide emissions of organic vegetables from local farm shops with mass produced organic vegetables delivered to customers\’ doors as part of a large scale vegetable box scheme.
They found that if consumers had to make a round trip by car of more than four miles to visit their local farm shop, the carbon emissions produced were greater than the mass produced vegetables that had been kept in cold storage and transported by heavy goods vehicle.
The researchers compared all carbon emissions from the fuel and energy used in each supply chain. As both methods used organic farming the farming practices were deemed to be the same.
Now, of course, what we want is a method of working all these sorts of calculations out. Does the organic farming method increase or reduce resource use? Foreign or local production? How many miles equals what method of production or storage? Well, usually we just use market priceing….but here were know that the are externalities from emissions. So, tax the emissions, making them internal to market prices (yes, Pigou Taxes again!) and our job is done. Market prices will now reflect resource use in production.
It\’s really a pretty neat idea, isn\’t it?