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Consumer-driven climate change mitigation – will organic food consumption make a positive difference?

Heerwagen, Lennart Ravn ; Andersen, Laura Mørch ; Sandøe , Peter and Christensen, Tove (2012) Consumer-driven climate change mitigation – will organic food consumption make a positive difference? Organic Agriculture, , - . [Submitted]

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Almost two out of three organic consumers state that mitigating climate change is an important reason for buying organic products. This finding may constitute a challenge for the organic market, considering the conflicting scientific evidence that underlies the belief that organic production is better for the climate than conventional production. However, several studies indicate that consumers of organic food in Denmark and other northern European countries purchase less meat than other consumers, and meat production has been identified as a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Inspired by these findings, we ask whether anthropogenic climate change could be mitigated by patterns of organic food consumption. Using unique Danish data on stated preferences for organic food, combined with data on observed food purchases, we find a statistically significant relationship between – not only organic budget shares and meat budget shares – but increasing organic budget shares and decreasing budget shares of meat, which indicates that a causal relation exists. Moreover, we find that households who state that they are concerned about climate change buy less meat and more organic food than households who are not concerned. It therefore seems reasonable to conclude that consumers who buy organic products typically are drawn into a consumption pattern of which both reduced meat consumption and motivation to limit human effects on the climate are key elements.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Organic consumption patterns, Meat consumption, Climate change mitigation
Subjects:"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > Denmark
Research affiliation: Denmark > KU - University of Copenhagen > KU-LIFE - Faculty of Life Sciences > Danish Research Institute of Food Economics
Deposited By: Andersen, Assistant Professor Laura M
ID Code:20853
Deposited On:30 May 2012 10:50
Last Modified:30 May 2012 10:50
Document Language:English
Refereed:Submitted for peer-review but not yet accepted

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