Is it time for environmental impact scores on food?
How much do consumers want to know about the environmental impact of the food products they buy?
There’s no doubt that environmental issues are increasingly on the minds of shoppers, but it can be difficult to know if what you’re buying is “good” or “bad” for the planet.
With that in mind, Foundation Earth is trying to establish a simple front-of-pack grading system that offers answers at a glance, whilst also providing the opportunity for further reading through a QR code.
The United Nations estimates that the food system accounts for more than one-third of global greenhouse gas emission, a sobering thought.
But the environmental impact of a food product goes well beyond just how much carbon is pumped into the atmosphere.
Foundation Earth says we need to be looking much more broadly at things like land use, water pollution, and biodiversity.
And it’s no use just looking at how production impacts the environment without considering transport, how the product is cooked, and how waste packaging is disposed of.
In short, it is very difficult to calculate the environmental impact of a food product. But, it is not impossible.
Listen to this episode of the Food Matters Live Podcast to hear how Foundation Earth is working with industry to try to get data that is as accurate as possible, is trying to find the right balance between providing too much information and not enough, and why the vegan option might not always be the best option for the planet.
Cliona Howie, Chief Executive Director, Foundation Earth
Cliona has broad background in the environmental sector and has worked as an environmental specialist for over 23 years.
She has chaired the European Commission’s Enterprise Europe Network Environment Sector Group, driving the uptake of resource efficiency and circular economy solutions for SMEs across Europe, and has collaborated as an expert with the European Commission on advancing the circular economy, climate policy and innovation agenda.
She has worked across Europe with national and regional public authorities to design, develop and deliver large scale, multi-sectorial plans for decarbonisation and transition to a low-carbon, circular economy for industrial value chains.