Food production and agriculture are vital to the UK economy. Food prices have fallen by nearly a quarter since 1980, yet cheap food has come at the expense of the people and natural systems that produce it. This period has also seen prolonged and severe declines in the environmental health of farmland, characterised by soil degradation and erosion, and the chronic decline of important species.
Unsustainable farming practices are creating unacknowledged costs and risks for food businesses. A failure to deal with this problem effectively will not only increase costs for the food sector, but also risk permanently locking in lower productivity for UK agriculture.
This report proposes a new model for policy makers, based on the concept of environmental efficiency, which enables food businesses to maintain the natural assets they depend on, and bolster the long term economic resilience of the UK food and farming sector.
Sue Armstrong Brown
William Andrews Tipper