This report examines what part market governance mechanisms (regulatory, fiscal, voluntary and information-related) can or could play in addressing Greenhouse Gas emissions from the food system, focusing on the two extreme ends of the supply chain – the process of agricultural production, and patterns of consumption.
The key messages emerging from this study are that economic measures have a vital part to play within this regulatory context, but they need to be designed with care. To be effective, emissions from food production and consumption must be addressed together. If not, emissions reduced in one will simply be displaced elsewhere. A balance needs to be struck by applying a mix of approaches – regulatory, economic, voluntary, and information: no single measure will be effective in achieving emissions reductions on its own. ‘Soft’ measures, such as voluntary agreements and information sharing have a part to play in providing an enabling context for action, but they must be backed up by ‘harder’ regulatory or economic measures.
Regulation, in the form of a cap on emissions, is a prerequisite for other market governance measures to function well. To be effective, policymakers need to consider the social, cultural and economic context within which market governance mechanisms operate.