Understanding the trends in Denmark's global food trade-related greenhouse gas and resource footprint
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonJournal of Cleaner Production. 2021, 313 . 10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.127785
Food production is a major driver of global warming, water scarcity and biodiversity loss. Denmark has set ambitious targets to lower its territorial carbon emissions in the next decades. In 2019, the Danish Agriculture and Food Council announced a strategy to make Denmark's food production systems climate-neutral by 2050. Therefore, detailed information concerning Denmark's food consumption's environmental impacts is required to implement effective climate mitigation and resource conservation policies that lead to positive local to global results. Using an environmentally extended multi-regional input-output (EE MRIO) analysis and the EXIOBASE v3.4 database, we evaluate Denmark's global food-related consumption-based (CB) greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and resource (land and water use) accounts from 1995 to 2014. Although Denmark's CB food-related blue water use remained relatively stable during the studied period, its food-related CB GHG emissions (excluding land-use change emissions) decreased continuously by 30%. Also, Denmark's cropland and grassland footprints for food declined by 16% (3555 km2) and 27% (621 km2), respectively. Almost two-fifths of Denmark's food consumption was produced abroad in 2014, corresponding to 51% of Denmark's food-related CB GHG emissions and land use apiece and 84% of its food-related blue water use. Whereas animal-based foods accounted for the largest share of Denmark's food-related CB GHG emissions, plant-based diets were responsible for the bulk of Denmark's CB land and blue water use. Dietary changes towards plant-based foods are essential to mitigating Denmark's food-related climate impacts. We recommend that Denmark transfers its sustainable food production technologies to its pollution-and-resource intensive food-exporting trade partners to enhance global climate change mitigation and resource use efficiency.