Carbon Footprint Labelling of Food Products

Last changed: 05 November 2021

With growing public awareness about the seriousness of the climate change problem, there is an increasing willingness on the part of individuals to lower their carbon footprint due to consumption. Systems for carbon footprint labelling of food products are on their way, both within Sweden and internationally.

Information about the climate effect of a product can come to influence the consumption patterns of consumers and can also be an important competitive advantage for food producers.

Carbon footprint labelling is a complex area and many different systems are being discussed. A feature common to all of these prospective systems is that they study the climate effects of a product from a life cycle perspective; from the soil being prepared for sowing to the product being available on the shelf or the plate.

The climate emissions from a particular food product depend on a range of parameters and can show a significant variation. Some parameters can be controlled by the producer, e.g. how the crop is cultivated and stored, the amount of fertiliser applied, choice of fuels and transport systems. Other factors are more unpredictable and cannot be influenced by the producer. In addition, the effects from the use of fuels, pesticides, fertilisers etc. are lower during good years with high yields, since the emissions from these can be spread over a greater volume of product.

This project is examining variations in the parameters involved in cultivation of potatoes and how these parameters affect the resulting climate impact. The factors that the producer can control and the extent of this control are being reviewed and compared with the parameters that the producer cannot control. This knowledge can be used in discussions about different systems for carbon footprint labelling.

Contact: Elin Röös, Cecilia Sundberg, Per-Anders Hansson