Over half (56%) of adults want UK farmers to adopt farming practices which preserve and enhance the environment and nature, according to new research from Ipsos and commissioned by the ground-breaking food and farming certiﬁcation scheme Fair to Nature.
The research also reveals a widespread lack of knowledge of the terms regenerative, sustainable or nature-friendly farming, with no more than two in 10 people surveyed saying they either know this type of farming “very well” or know a “fair amount” about it. Despite this, a growing movement for change in the food industry has seen many of these terms hitting our shelves.
As the industry looks to meet this demand, the RSPB Fair to Nature report, Without Nature There is no Food, has been launched in response, outlining the solution to restoring the balance of nature in farming. The report also provides clarity for farmers, food businesses and consumers, recognising the growing urgency needed to act in the face of the nature and climate emergency.
Reflecting on the research and how food brands and businesses can act upon it, Mark Varney, Head of Fair to Nature, said, “These results highlight that UK consumers want our food and agricultural system to be a power for good, helping protect and preserve our landscape and wildlife. This is a golden opportunity for food businesses to adopt nature-friendly farming and food production to respond to their customers’ wants and needs.
“Making sense of what this means in practice can be confusing, especially with buzzwords such as ‘regenerative’ and ‘sustainable’ hitting our shelves. It needn’t be this complicated, as our new report launched today, Without Nature There is no Food, shows. Setting out a proven approach for including nature as a key component within all food businesses’ UK supply chains, it demonstrates how, in the wake of terrifying declines in nature, we can – and must – do something urgently to bring farmers, producers and consumers the clarity needed to enact real change.”
The findings build on research from March last year which highlighted growing consumer concern about nature loss and a desire to halt its decline, with 67% of UK adults found to be concerned with the decline in the variety of UK wildlife compared to 50 years ago.
Compiled by experts from the RSPB’s Fair to Nature scheme, the report looks at the vital role of nature in underpinning our ability to do business. From providing raw materials and energy, to the food, water, and clean air we need to survive, nature is the foundation of every aspect of human life. Biodiversity loss means these vital services are under threat.
In a nod to land sparing, the report makes the controversial claim that if every farm made 10% of land available for good quality wildlife habitat, nature on farms could be restored and protected.
However, RSPB Fair to Nature also says it has achieved good results: one farm has seen a 226% increase in breeding birds, a 213% increase in farmland butterflies, almost double the floral diversity and up to 19 times more bees than typical farms.