Tom Maidment is a sustainability engineer with experience leading decarbonisation projects in agriculture and industry. He is also Technical Director of E.Mission (emission.org.uk), a consultancy he founded committed to improve public understanding of the carbon footprint of food.
He is an active environmental activist in Coventry. He produced an analysis of the implications for Coventry of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on 1.5°C of warming which was published on CovCAN website in 2019 at https://covcan.uk/warming-implications-for-coventry/
This is part 1 of a two-part series of interviews with Tom.
In this part he talks about his career to date, the origins of E.Mission, the carbon footprint of food, low carbon recipes (emission.org.uk/recipes) and the possibility of publishing a low-carbon recipe book, the Consultancy work of E.Mission (emission.org.uk/our-services) and their work for the hospitality industry (emission.org.uk/for-hospitality), the fact that food systems are responsible for a third of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (www.nature.com/articles/s43016-021-00225-9), carbon capture and storage, direct air capture and capturing industrial carbon emissions, biological sequestration, geological and lithographic storage, why carbon dioxide is so hard to capture and store, the increase in the amount of atmospheric CO2 in the past 25 years, “godfathering” industrial plants, deforestation, reforestation and afforestation and finally the work of Tim Searchinger of Princeton University.
E.Mission develops a range of services to inform individuals and businesses how they can reduce their carbon footprint. They aim to promote sustainable eating and food practices to help diners eat local and help businesses to meet the growing trend for low carbon eating. Their site http://emission.org.uk/ is packed with food miles facts, as well as a food carbon footprint calculator helping users to see exactly what food miles mean. Excessive human emissions of greenhouse gases are causing the climate to warm. This manifests in worsening storms, more frequent floods and unprecedented heatwaves that cause hardship around the world.
E.Mission’s data comes from a comprehensive study of over 15,000 participants’ real eating habits and has been used in many academic papers. Their methodologies encompass all facets of food production and preparation. We consider emissions from agriculture, transport, retail, packaging, cooking and waste. Their evidence shows that what you eat can account for 10-50% of your total carbon footprint. But this can be reduced by up to 60% without having any negative impact on health.
They offer free Low-carbon recipes to help individuals and businesses achieve this.