Planet Friendly Food
An independent consultancy group dedicated to facilitating the creation of food systems that align with planetary health goals
We work with a number of agents, including policy makers, the food industry, NGOs, and institutions, using an evidence based, solutions orientated approach. Our specialist services include food system auditing, target setting and implementation, developing food system metrics, policy design, research and education services.
We apply the precautionary principle to sustainable food systems and planetary health, focussing on animal to plant-sourced food shifts. Such shifts leverage the most benefits from the food system and are a key component of tackling our most serious environmental and health problems, including climate change, species loss, nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, land use change, water quality and availability, communicable and non-communicable disease, antibiotic resistance and food insecurity.
What we offer:
Measuring food related greenhouse gas emissions, and other environmental impacts from food production inventories and food procurement inventories.
Food System Metrics
Developing metrics to suit target audiences and needs, creating tools and frameworks for data collection and monitoring.
Target Setting and Implementation
Developing baseline metrics, such as food related greenhouse gas emissions, identifying targets and implemention pathways for reducing environmental impacts, and reassessing periodically against the baseline.
Research and Education Services
In-house presentations and webinars, courses, reports, food systems research, scientific analyses of food systems, policy design, surveys, scenario development and roadmapping, education materials for consumer facing marketing and communications.
Here are some specific examples of how we can help:
Identify opportunities to include agriculture, the livestock sector and land use in climate change targets; develop metrics and systems for measuring impacts of and co-benefits arising from changes in the food sector.
Increase the sustainability of food purchase; integrate food into sustainability targets; provide detailed pathways for implementing sustainability targets; and communicate achievements with consumers.
Increase the sustainability of products and menus; identify food system hotspots; reduce business risks; open new markets; and create new opportunities for Corporate Social Responsibility.
Increase effectiveness and reach of food projects by providing research to inform strategies and developing systems to measure impact.
Meet The Team
We are a multidisciplinary group of scientists and experts specialising in the creation of food systems that meet planetary health goals
Helen Harwatt, Ph.D.
Helen is an award winning researcher and scientific author, and is currently a research fellow at Harvard University looking at the role of livestock reduction in meeting climate change policy targets. Helen conducts and publishes assessments of the environmental and health impacts of food choices and the contribution that animal to plant-sourced food shifts make to planetary health goals. Helen also works with institutes to reduce the negative impacts of food procurement by measuring environmental impacts, identifying appropriate targets, and developing tailored implementation pathways, including ‘quick wins’ and longer term plans. Helen works with NGOs on their food programs, developing tools and education platforms to embed planetary health goals in the food service industry. Helen’s main passion and interest is aligning environmental sustainability goals with public health goals.
Helen has a PhD in Climate Change Mitigation Policy and a BSc with honours in Environmental Science, both from the University of Leeds, in the UK. Helen has previously held research positions at the Institute for Transport Studies and the Sustainability Research Institute, at the University of Leeds, and on the Environmental Nutrition program at the Loma Linda University, California. Helen has worked with many multidisciplinary and multinational teams funded by a range of clients, including research councils, government agencies, non-governmental organisations, foundations, charities and private donors.
With a background in environmental social science, Helen focussed on behavioural change and climate change mitigation strategies at the University of Leeds, before turning her focus to the environmental and health impacts of the food system at Loma Linda University, California. Helen has since worked as a independent expert in this emerging field.
William J. Ripple, Ph.D.
Consulting Research Scientist
Dr. William (Bill) Ripple is a distinguished Professor of Ecology, at Oregon State University, specializing in global biological conservation. He is a widely published researcher and a prominent international figure in the field of ecology. Dr Ripple is most known for his work on trophic cascades, and in particular the role of the grey wolf as a keystone species and its role in improving ecosystem health within Yellowstone National Park.
Dr. Ripple studies, publishes research on and speaks about the environmental and climate effects of livestock and human carnivory (meat eating by humans). Additionally, he is an adjunct professor in Environmental Nutrition at Loma Linda University’s School of Public Health.
Professor Bill Ripple is an internationally known leader in the ecology of top predators has achieved extraordinary feats during his research career which spans over 3 decades, to date. His numerous awards include the Earle A. Chiles award for lifetime achievement on research involving predators, prey, and plants from the High Desert Museum, Oregon; the Dean’s award for outstanding achievement in research; and the Presidential citation for meritorious service. Bill has featured in a number of films and documentaries for a range of producers including the National Geographic, and has appeared on TV and Radio, and in Magazine and Newspaper articles. Bill is a highly cited author and has published a large body of scientific articles. Bill was awarded ‘distinguished professor’ by Oregon State University, which is the highest designation given to faculty.
D.L. Marrin, Ph.D.
Consulting Research Scientist
Dr. Marrin (nickname West) has expertise in biogeochemistry, water quality dynamics, and the water-energy-food nexus. His research focuses on virtual and actual methods of addressing local water shortages, primarily through changes in food and energy choices by residents. He has used water footprints to estimate the dietary changes and food waste reductions required to address water quality and quantity issues, as well as applied hydromimicry principles to minimize the degradation and depletion of water resources. His forensic work has focused on using marker compounds to assess the sources of wastewater in freshwater and marine coastal systems and on analyzing inorganic constituents (e.g., ion ratios, stable isotopes) to evaluate protection zones for potable waters. Additionally, he has adapted pattern-based approaches (i.e., spatial, temporal) to investigate water-energy-food relationships and to present the resulting data.
West has a Ph.D. in Water Resources from the University of Arizona, as well as B.S. and M.S. degrees in the Biological and Environmental Sciences from the University of California. He is a co-founder of two firms specializing in environmental science and scientific presentations, as well as a nonprofit that presented cost effective water solutions. He taught at several universities and is a former Adjunct Professor in the Geosciences Department at San Diego State University.
Gidon Eshel, Ph.D.
Consulting Research Scientist
Gidon Eshel is a research professor of environmental physics at Bard College. He is best known for his work quantifying the geophysical consequences of agriculture and diet. Most recently, he has compared various livestock in terms of land and water use, fertilizer-based water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions per unit product and compared the global-warming consequences of different beef-production strategies (including grass- versus trough-fed beef). His widely varied scientific interests also include the development of algebraic tools for simultaneous optimization of health and environmental outcomes through dietary choices, climate physics, and measures of time scale–specific ecosystem stability.
At Radcliffe, Eshel is collaborating with scientists from the Harvard University Center for the Environment and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on developing multi-objective metrics of diet. The metrics combine disparate environmental impacts (e.g., greenhouse gas emissions or water and land use) with health outcomes (e.g., cardio- and cerebrovascular diseases or diabetes) in a manner most suitable for using in optimizations designed to improve public health while easing environmental burdens.
Eshel studied physics and earth sciences at the Technion and the University of Haifa, in Israel, before getting an MA, an MPhil, and a PhD at Columbia University in mathematical geophysics. Before his post at Bard, he was a NOAA Climate & Global Change Postdoctoral Fellow hosted by Harvard, a staff scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and a faculty member of the Department of the Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago.
Here is a selection of our most relevant publications and videos
Sabate, J. Harwatt, H. and Soret, S. (2016) American Journal of Public Health. May 2016, Vol. 106, No. 5, pp. 815-821.
Comparing the water, energy, pesticide and fertilizer usage for the production of foods consumed by different dietary types in California.
Marlow, H. Harwatt, H. Soret, S and Sabate, J. (2015) Public Health Nutrition. 18(13):2425-32.
Climate change mitigation and health effects of varied dietary patterns in real-life settings throughout North America.
Soret, S. Mejia, A. Batech, M. Jaceldo-Siegl, K. Harwatt, H and Sabate, J. (2014) American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 100: 476S-482S.
Marrin, D.L. In: Environmental Nutrition. Connecting health and nutrition with environmentally sustainable diets. Edited by Sabate, J. Elsevier. Forthcoming.
Land, irrigation water, greenhouse gas, and reactive nitrogen burdens of meat, eggs, and dairy production in the United States
Gidon Eshel, Alon Sheponb, Tamar Makovc , and Ron Milob. (2014). PNAS. Vol. 111, no. 33