A new study has claimed that the environmental impact of the production, packaging and distribution of organic bread is far less than that of conventional bread, with organic bread emitting as much as a quarter less CO2 into the atmosphere.
The research, conducted by the Öko-Institut in Freiburg, Germany, was part of comprehensive research into greenhouse emissions by calculating the CO2 equivalent of foodstuffs.
It found that all organic foods have a better CO2 balance than conventional products, but organic wheat bread was found to cause 25% less CO2 emissions than conventional wheat bread per kilogram of product.
The figures were calculated using multiple factors including the CO2 emissions of agriculture, transport, milling, baking, ingredients and packaging.
The bulk of the CO2 saving with organic was from farming, with conventional farming emitting over twice as much CO2 (270g CO2 per kg of conventional bread compared to 129g CO2 in organic).
This difference was largely attributed to the higher amounts of energy used to produce synthetic nitrogen fertiliser in conventional agriculture. Organic farming was also said to increase the content of organic matter in the soil, locking in up to 1.5 tons of CO2 per hectare per year.