Decarbonising Our Food Systems: Contextualising Digitalisation For Net Zero

Simon Pearson*, Steve Brewer, Louise Manning, Luc Bidaut, George Onoufriou, Aiden Durrant, Georgios Leontidis, Charbel Jabbour, Andrea Zisman, Gerard Parr, Jeremy G. Frey, Roger Maull

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The food system is undergoing a digital transformation that connects local and
global supply chains to address economic, environmental, and societal drivers.
Digitalisation enables firms to meet sustainable development goals (SDGs),
address climate change and the wider negative externalities of food production
such as biodiversity loss, and diffuse pollution. Digitalising at the business and
supply chain level through public–private mechanisms for data exchange affords
the opportunity for greater collaboration, visualising, and measuring activities and their socio-environmental impact, demonstrating compliance with regulatory and market requirements and providing opportunity to capture current practice and future opportunities for process and product improvement. Herein we consider digitalisation as a tool to drive innovation and transition to a decarbonised food system. We consider that deep decarbonisation of the food system can only occur when trusted emissions data are exchanged across supply chains. This requires fusion of standardised emissions measurements within a supply chain data sharing framework. This framework, likely operating as a corporate entity, would provide the foci for measurement standards, data exchange, trusted, and certified data and as a multi-stakeholder body, including regulators, that would build trust and collaboration across supply chains. This approach provides a methodology for accurate and trusted emissions data to inform consumer choice and industrial response of individual firms within a supply chain.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1094299
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Sustainable Food Systems
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2023

Bibliographical note

This paper presents work funded by the Food Standards Agency (Project Ref FS301083) and the EPSRC Internet of Food Things DE Network (EP/R045127/1)

Data Availability Statement

The original contributions presented in the study are included in the article/supplementary material, further inquiries can be directed to the corresponding author.


  • Digital Systems
  • Trust framework
  • Data exchange
  • governance
  • Net zero


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