Food & Environment

Learn more on how we score food items below.
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  • Why is it so important to understand the relationship between food and the environment?

    Food production accounts for approximately 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions, 70% of freshwater extraction and is the leading driver of natural habitat loss around the world. Clearly, the way we produce and consume food is critical to the future of the planet. Food systems must be adapted in order to limit their impact on the environment, without compromising on health and nutrition. Our mission is about bringing environmental impacts into the DNA of food companies, in the same way that costs and nutrition are widely tracked across the food system.
  • How is the score calculated?

    Our Co2 calculator partner uses leading life cycle assessment (LCA) data to account for the impacts at each stage of a food’s life cycle including farming, packaging, processing, transport, retail and waste. Where relevant, impacts from cooking and end-mile delivery are also included. The LCA values are largely based on a study by Poore and Nemecek (2018). Where country-specific LCA values are available, the carbon footprint of food is calculated according to the ingredient countries of origin. If the country of origin is unknown, or unavailable within the existing data, the carbon footprint is calculated in line with average British consumption. This uses International Trade Centre data to map where food in the UK is typically sourced from. All of our Co2 scores and calculations are completed to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Standard.
  • What is kg CO2e?

    Carbon footprint refers to the greenhouse gas emissions emitted during a product’s life cycle, and is measured in kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents (kg CO2e). Carbon dioxide equivalents (kg CO2e) express the impact of greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxide in terms of the equivalent global warming potential of carbon dioxide.
  • Why does it matter?

    The IPCC warns that in order to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change, global warming must be limited to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Reducing the carbon footprint of food marks an important step in achieving this, and meeting the UK government’s 2050 net-zero target. Food production has also contributed to a global biodiversity crisis. Vast areas of land are cleared to accommodate increasing demands for food, which in turn drives biodiversity loss. We believe that engaging with the narrative behind food - where food comes from and how it was made - is an important step towards greater transparency and sustainability.
  • What do the carbon footprint scores not tell us?

    Carbon footprint scores cannot capture the full scope of the sustainability of food. Other environmental impacts like land use, water use and pollution are also important, as are social impacts such as fair pay and food security. However, carbon footprint scores can still provide important insights into one of the biggest challenges facing humanity.
  • Did you know?

    Scientists have set a global carbon budget for food at 5 gigatonnes per year, which equates to an individual food carbon budget of 1.32kg of CO2e per person per day. The carbon labels use this budget to define impact ratings. Look out for ‘very low’ and ‘low’ impact items which will help you to stay within your daily food carbon budget!
  • What is climate-smart food?

    Climate-smart food refers to food that is produced and consumed within our planetary boundaries. The planetary boundary for climate change is defined by a global carbon budget, as set out in the Paris Agreement, whereby global warming must be limited to no more than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
  • Carbon labels, how do they work?

    The labels separate food items into five distinct levels of impact, which signal the carbon footprint per kilogram of each food item. This is otherwise known as their carbon intensity. The five impact ratings - ranging from A to E - indicate a footprint score from ‘Very Low’ to ‘Very High’. Each of the ratings correlates to a traffic light colour, helping to guide users towards the more sustainable food choices.
  • How are the footprints rated?

    The Carbon Label categories are based on a daily carbon footprint budget for food. It uses the planetary boundaries for global food systems, as defined in the 2019 EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems, to determine a personal carbon footprint allowance. Opting for A-rated foods helps individuals to stay within this allowance, meanwhile the E-rating is awarded to the most carbon intensive food items.
  • Why us?

    We want to invite you on our sustainable food journey. By displaying the carbon footprint of our food items, we aim to empower our customers to make sustainable choices for the planet.
  • How do you measure carbon sequestration

    We use the Green House Gas Equivalencies Calculator . You can read more about it here