Tackling greenhouse gas emissions by reducing red meat and dairy consumption will only work if producers, retailers and government are engaged in the debate, the Food Ethics Council has claimed.

In a report commissioned by WWF, the FEC has drawn together a list of 27 practical ways in which consumption of meat and dairy can be reduced.

Better promotion of dairy and meat-free products, carbon labelling, more information on the benefits of eating different meats and taxes for greenhouse gas-intensive foods were among the proposals analysed. However, the report warned, none would be straightforward to implement.

Another issue that needed to be addressed was how to ensure consumers still got enough iron when reducing meat consumption, it added.

Researchers acknowledged that efforts to reduce emissions by encouraging consumers to eat less meat, such as Sir Paul McCartney's Meat Free Monday, had alienated livestock producers and placed policymakers and industry representatives in a difficult position. "They often see such calls as misguided, anti-competitive and contrary to the public will," the report stated.

The report would stimulate vital debate between producers, processors and retailers, said head of WWF's One Planet Food programme Mark Driscoll. "Until now, they have had little guidance on the possibilities of making further reductions through changes in consumer behaviour."

Consumption of livestock products accounts for approximately 8% of the UK's emissions.

Retailers told to push low meat/dairy diets