Decarbonising Our Food Systems: Contextualising Digitalisation For Net Zero

Simon Pearson*, Steve Brewer, Louise Manning, Luc Bidaut, George Onoufriou, Aiden Mark 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


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


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


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