Sustainable consumption in the global South – trends, practices and influences

The final report of a three year ESRC funded research programme into the current and potential roles of consumption in the global South has been published.

The study, led by Prof Alex Hughes at Newcastle University, places the spotlight on the growing middle classes in the global South – exploring issues of ethics and sustainability regarding food consumption, choices, values and practices.

The research examines these issues in Brazil, China, and South Africa, offering comparisons of the potential of different drivers of sustainability in particular political, commercial and cultural settings. The cities of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Guangzhou in China, and Johannesburg in South Africa are used as case studies.

Findings from the three cities show that sustainability and ethics are not only about organics or addressing climate crisis but involve everything from food safety to working conditions for farm workers, to healthy soils, zero carbon, strong local economies, reducing waste, robust local food cultures, and animal welfare and its role in preventing disease transmission. Sustainable and ethical food systems also need to be resilient to economic downturns or weather events and responsive to social, economic, and cultural issues.

A number of key issues and trends were unveiled by the research, which are useful for policy makers in private, third and public sectors.

As well as Newcastle the research collaboration involved three of the other N8 universities – Durham, Sheffield and York and built on work funded by a N8 AgriFood pump priming award. You can read the full report here.


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