Ship, plane, bicycle. What’s best?

Date Published: 19/10/2007

There has been much recent debate about the Soil Association having a ‘consultation’ on how it feels about organic produce traveling by air. The SA has been pushing forward ideas for tackling this which could include slapping ‘air freighted’ stickers on produce, or even an outright ban on flying organic products around the globe.

Of course there is no simple answer to this. There are pros and cons in everything and it is likely that any measure would end up penalising exporters, such as the Kenyan farmers, in a very painful way that would, to many people at least, be hard to justify. This is especially true if we consider that a tomato grown in a heated UK greenhouse could be more environmentally harmful than flying in a foreign one.

Now, just to add some more confusion to the issue, we see a report that suggests container ships may be doing more ecological damage than aircraft… That should set the cat among the pigeons!

This is not, apparently, because they are more polluting mile for mile, but because of the sheer amount of ships racing regularly across the oceans burning low grade “bunker fuel”.

It’s getting trickier and trickier to unravel this one.