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Scotland Food and Drink – Exploring a Systems Based Approach Towards Net Zero


The following report was undertaken between January and March 2023 as part of a SEFARI Research Fellowship funded via Food and Drink Federation Scotland on behalf of the Scotland Food & Drink Net Zero Task Force to support their understanding of the opportunities and barriers for the Scottish Food and Drink sector moving towards net zero.

The report has explored the background literature and current drivers for change to deliver net zero for Scotland’s food and drink industry.  It explores the need for a root and stem redesign of our food system, while recognising that the food and drink sector is by its nature a complex system.  The report explores how change is realised in complex systems and some of the barriers faced by stakeholders in understanding what actions best deliver sustainable sector economic growth, while also achieving the UK’s challenging net zero objectives.

While the pathways to delivering systemic change are widely understood, the process lacks the ability to bring together the complex networks of primary growers, producers, supply chains, retailers and consumers into a common framework that recognises and validates efforts and progress against a common set of benchmarks, which is the challenge this work aims to combat.

There were two key outcomes from this work:  Firstly, a System Resilience Framework that has outlined how a complete food and drink system might be modelled within a Scottish context.  The Framework facilitates the ability to explore both horizontal and vertical relationships between stakeholders, and opportunities for partnership.  The second was to develop a methodology and process for defining and measuring the maturity of the systems that manage carbon outcomes within the food and drink sector.  The Food and Drink Framework and Systems Mapping template set out a methodology for exploring the systems that are creating the outcomes (carbon emissions), rather than just the outcomes themselves. 

By exploring and understanding the process used to manage behaviour we get better transparency into where the numbers originate and how to deliver real systems change.  The report concludes with recommendations for actions going forward, which include undertaking sector specific consultation exercises to further develop carbon management system templates for each Tier/Sector and to roll out a Pilot Study for a region in Scotland to test the validity and practicality of the Resilience Framework and Carbon Systems Benchmarking Template.


Name: SEFARI Fellowship Scotland Food and Drink - A Systems Based Approach Towards Net Zero_DRAFT.pdf
Type: document
File: PDF
Size: 1.27 MB