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Title:No through road: The limitations of food miles PDF Logo
Authors:Wynen, Els
Vanzetti, David
Issue Date:2008
Series/Report no.:ADBI working paper series 118
Abstract:Some consumers and environmentalists espouse purchasing food that is produced locally or nationally. An appealing expression of this is the food miles concept, which reflects the aim of minimizing the distance food has traveled before reaching the consumer. The concept of food miles is flawed because it ignores the costs of production, the mode and scale of transport, and the importance of other inputs such as capital and labor. Nonetheless, the notion has become popular recently with the rise in the costs of both food and transport. Indeed, some organizations that set standards for organic certification are considering incorporating, or have already incorporated, food miles into their standards, including a ban on air freighted goods. As a result, exporters, including those in some developing countries, may lose their markets in developed countries, especially in Europe. This approach may make consumers and foreign producers worse off, and may lead to increases in global energy use and emissions, contrary to the stated objectives.
JEL:F13
Q17
Document Type:Working Paper
Appears in Collections:ADBI Working Paper Series, Asian Development Bank Institute

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