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Cambridge Global Food Security

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

Emma joined CISL in September 2020 as a Research Associate to work on sustainability in supermarket supply chains. For her PhD she tested which interventions were most effective to reduce meat consumption and increase vegetarian sales in university cafeterias. She has previously worked with several different academic institutions, NGOs and businesses including the University of Kiel (Germany), Microsoft Research (UK) and Zoological Society London (UK). More generally, Emma is interested in understanding how to equitably overcome economic, political and social barriers to conserving biodiversity and reaching absolute zero greenhouse gas emissions.


Emma read Zoology at the University of Cambridge for her Bachelor’s degree; she then spent two years studying in five different countries for an Erasmus Mundus Master in Applied Ecology.  For her thesis she spent four months on the Galápagos assessing the importance of mangrove habitats for juvenile fish communities.

Emma has worked for a number of different academic institutions, NGOs and businesses. After her Masters she worked at the University of Kiel in Germany, carrying out research and drafting chapters for a book on conservation auctions and agri-environmental schemes. She has worked with the IUCN on the climate change vulnerability of lemurs; the Shark Trust on trends in capture and trade of Elasmobranchii; the Institute of Zoology London (ZSL) on the National Red List project; with Microsoft Research to model infrastructure failures for a British utility company; and for The Nature Conservancy's Mapping Ocean Wealth project, collecting data and developing a spatially explicit global model on fish densities within mangrove habitats. She returned to the University of Cambridge in 2016 to carry out her PhD on strategies to reduce meat consumption and the environmental footprint of food. In 2019 Emma undertook a 3-month placement at DEFRA and produced a report on the environmental impacts of bio-based plastics.

She enjoys teaching and was delighted to receive the Janet Moore prize for supervising in Zoology (University of Cambridge). 


Emma joined CISL in September 2020 as a Research Associate working on reducing the environmental impact of supermarket products. Emma researches which interventions work to reduce the environmental impact of diet. These projects span the natural and social sciences as well behavioural psychology.

During her PhD (University of Cambridge, 2016-2020) Emma worked with Cambridge cafeterias to test whether placing the vegetarian options first in buffets (changing order), increasing the number of vegetarian options served (increasing availability) or altering prices can increase sales of vegetarian meals and reduce meat consumption. This work was one of the finalists in a global Solution Search for behavioural approaches to mitigating climate change. Emma was supervised by Andrew Balmford (Department of Zoology), Chris Sandbrook (Department of Geography) and Theresa Marteau (Department of Public Health and Primary Care). Her PhD was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

Emma has discussed her research in outreach events including the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, Soapbox Science, Earth Optimism and the Cambridge Science Festival. More generally, she is interested in understanding how to overcome economic, social and psychological barriers to conserving biodiversity and reaching absolute zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Prince of Wales Junior Research Fellow, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.
 Emma  Garnett

Contact Details

Email address: 
01223 336617
Not available for consultancy


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