Climate change is a major concern for policymakers and consumers. Air-freighting, as a carbon-intensive activity, has become heavily criticized and the concept of ‘food miles’ is now taken by many to be an indicator for environmental sustainability. UK retailers were consequently under pressure to stop buying Kenyan horticultural produce and instead promote locally sourced alternatives.
The horticultural industry in Kenya supports over 1 million people and horticultural imports from the whole of sub-Saharan Africa account for around only 0.1% of UK carbon emissions. Africa Practice acted swiftly to better inform the ‘food miles’ debate, designing and launching a data-driven campaign – Grown Under The Sun – to promote and protect Kenyan fresh produce exports to the UK.
The campaign secured support from high profile opinion formers and decision-makers such as Sir Richard Branson of Virgin, the UK’s Department for International Development and leading British food retailers. Extensive press coverage of the issues ensured that the ‘food miles’ concept was challenged and the developmental impact of the horticultural industry for Kenya was recognised. British retailers reaffirmed their commitments to fair trade and many reported no loss in sales of Kenyan fresh produce.