While eating food from his own garden is unbeatable on many aspects, it is unfortunately not possible for everyone. Buying fresh seasonal and local products is a nice alternative but it can’t answer all the needs for the general population.
In the end beside these two obvious solutions, what criteria do need to be taken into account when buying food products from the shelf? Are they any initiatives or solution that might help us?
First it seems very important to be aware that food is the first factor responsible of the climate change. By itself, the food industry represents 28% of the carbon dioxyde emission, 70% of the water consumption, 70% of the deforestation and the majority of all packaging wastes.
What are the factors influencing the environmental impact on air, water, ocean, soil pollution and the biosphere more generally?
Carbon dioxide gas emission (CO2
Ozon layer destruction
Fine particle emissions
Water resource depletion
Depletion of non-renewable resources
Eutrophication (terrestrial, freshwater & marine)
Toxicities (freshwater & human)
Loss of biodiversity
All these factors need to be taken into account during the whole life cycle of the product :
Raw material extraction
Packaging & Distribution
Waste and/or Recycling
I think we can all agree than this is not an easy task… but there is hope and some of us have already started to work on it very seriously. The initiative is named eco-score and is basically a scoring system that tries to take all this factors and impacts into account.
The consortium behind eco-score include two companies (ScanUp & Yuka) that have conceived smartphones apps enabling us consumers to quickly have all the details behind a product by simply scanning its barcode. Below is a eco-score comparison of two organic peanut butter from two different brands and while they might both taste good, choosing the one with the best eco-score will be better for the planet.