Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Carbon footprinting

The carbon footprint is a consumption-based indicator used to highlight the climate impacts of a certain good or service. Carbon footprinting is based on the life cycle assessment (LCA) approach but focuses only on greenhouse gas emissions, rather than a suite of environmental areas. The “size” of the footprint is usually expressed in terms of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). The footprint analysis considers impacts along several or all the stages of a product’s life cycle, which may span agricultural production (and the inputs to this production) through to consumption and waste disposal. The footprint approach can be used to measure the carbon impact of food at various scales; from the individual food product, to an entire meal, through to a dietary pattern of an individual or a country. Carbon footprinting may simply be undertaken by a company in order to understand the impacts of the products it sells and ascertain opportunities for improvement, but information about a product's footprint is also occasionally included on packaging in the form of a consumer-oriented label.

Photo: Neil Palmer, CIAT Nicaragua, Flickr Creative commons licence 2.0  generic
1 June 2017

In this information note from the CGIAR programme on Climate change, Agriculture and Food security (CCAFS), researchers present a rough estimate of the proportion of global agricultural emissions that can be attributed to smallholder farmers in developing countries.

Photo: Joshua Mayer, Forest, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
1 June 2017

This paper takes countries’ mitigation targets (Intended National Determined Contributions, or INDCs), submitted since the Paris Climate agreement, and, using supplementary information from other official documents, quantifies how much of the promised actions are related to Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF, primarily deforestation and forest management). 

Photo: S Khan, Shrimps, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
16 May 2017

This research calculates the carbon footprint of a meal to give a tangible example, aimed at the public in the US, about how daily food decisions can affect deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe). The study uses a life-cycle assessment (LCA) approach that takes into account GHGe arising from the conversion of mangrove to cattle pastures and mangrove to shrimping ponds as well as from forests to pasture (cattle induced deforestation). 

19 April 2017

Based on a case study from Oakland California, a new report by Friends of the Earth US finds that schools can make lunches healthier and more climate-friendly while also saving money— by reformulating menus so that they are more plant centred, and contain less (and better) meat and fewer dairy products.

19 April 2017

This report, by the US based NRDC (The Natural Resources Defense Council) finds that the per capita diet related carbon footprint of the average US citizen decreased by 10% between 2005 and 2014, driven by a 19% decrease in beef consumption. 

Photo: ishpikawa ken, school lunch, Root, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
12 April 2017

This summary has been provided by FCRN member Alessandro Cerutti from the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC).

Public administrations such as schools, hospitals and other sectors are well aware of the effort required to manage all the stages of the catering service, from menu selection through to waste management. Several strategies hold potential to reduce the environmental impacts throughout these stages, especially in the context of the Green Public Procurement (GPP). Unfortunately, despite the best of intentions, budget constraints are constantly forcing managers to make difficult trade-offs.

28 February 2017

This report details the methodology used to create a new online tool which can help companies set science-based emission targets and incorporate land-use change into their mitigation strategies. It is part of the Science Based Targets initiative run by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) CDP, UN Global Compact, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Photo credit: Gregor Sieböck, Flickr, Creative Commons License
2 November 2016

Opponents in an academic discussion on the relevance and the validity of the ‘Ecological Footprint approach’ have come together to write an article in which they challenge each other’s views. 

Photo: Rubén Moreno Montolíu, Earth, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
6 September 2016

The authors of this paper have tried to develop a framework to apply the concept of planetary boundaries to national level decision making and to discuss what a country’s ‘fair share’ of Earth’s safe operating space could be.

3 September 2015

An international research project co-led by the University of East Anglia suggests that international agencies have overestimated Chinas carbon emissions for more than 10 years. The research team re-evaluated emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and cement production from 1950-2013 and their results suggest that China produced 2.9 gigatonnes less carbon between 2000-2013 than previous estimates of its cumulative emissions.

12 June 2015

This new paper in Marine Policy suggests that eco-label improvements can be made by integrating the carbon footprints of products in sustainability assessments (eco-labels, sustainability certification, or consumer seafood sustainability guides).

29 January 2015

In this study, 483 food items (developed by the Casino Group retailer company) were grouped into 34 categories and then 5 major food groups; meat and meat products, milk and dairy products, processed fruits and vegetables, grains and other foods and sweets. The aggregated average carbon footprints of the categories and major food groups were presented per 100 gram of product, per 100 kcal of product and per two different nutrient density scores including six and 15 nutrients respectively.

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