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.

22 July 2014

The Global Calculator is an open-source interactive tool allows you to explore all the options we have to reduce emissions through changing our technologies, fuels, land use and lifestyles up to the year 2050. It is funded by the UK Government’s International Climate Fund and the EU’s Climate-KIC, and has been built by an international team.

22 July 2014

The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT)  has launched a new report on sustainable diets - People, Plate and Planet, describing dietary choices that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pressures on land. The report considers nutrition, GHG emissions and land use and states that the most significant impact on these areas comes from what we eat, not where it is from or how much packaging there is around it.

25 April 2014

This study investigates specifically how camels compare to other ruminants in terms of emissions and they find that they release less methane.

14 February 2014

In collaboration with agricultural and environmental experts, E-CO2, McDonalds is launching a practical tool that aims to demonstrate to farmers what measures that can be taken to reduce their carbon footprint and increase their business efficiency.

6 February 2014

This app is a greenhouse gas calculator for farming.  It is aimed at companies who can use it to collate and manage supply chain emissions and for farmers for use as decision support.

25 March 2013

One FCRN network member has kindly responded to the request for info on more footprinting tools.

She highlights the Fieldprint calculator (on-farm only) developed by The Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture. The tool calculates not only carbon but also incorporates soil and water use indicators. Reference values are included to enable the user to establish how his/her farm compares, but as the tool was developed in the US that aspect of the tool may not apply in other regions.

18 March 2013

For those interested in or working on life cycle analysis type approaches you may be interested in a free carbon footprinting tool Ccalc. The tool can be used for the following:

24 January 2013

A report by Low Carbon Oxford and LandShare entitled “Foodprinting Oxford” calculates the resources and risks involved with Oxford’s food supply, and explores how best to make the city’s food system more reliable. As part of LandShare’s “How to feed a city” programme, the report aims to help people understand where their food is coming from and how to make it more secure.
The FoodPrinting Oxford project takes a systematic look at two aspects of the city’s food system:

25 April 2012

The International Trade Centre (ITC) has published a new technical paper on Product Carbon Footprinting Standards in the Agri-Food Sector. The paper aims to guide exporters of agricultural products through the process of product carbon footprinting (PCF) so as to make it easier for them to understand the processes involved, improve their environmental performance and ultimately to reduce the costs for their business.

13 April 2012

This interesting study, commissioned by Unilever presents the range of GWP (global warming potential) values for 27 crops grown worldwide, looking both at the variability of values for the same crop across countries as well as differences between crops. 

9 March 2012

The Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum has published a study on Scottish produced suspended mussels and intertidal oysters.

The study considered the cradle-to-gate impacts of the shellfish, from spat collection in the case of mussels, and hatching in the case of oysters, through  growing, harvesting, depuration, and packing ready for dispatch.  To illustrate the carbon impacts of the full life cycle, a scenario is included that,  based on various assumptions, illustrates the potential impacts of distribution, retail, consumption and disposal of the shells. 

29 February 2012

The UK dairy sector has published its first report which looks at the carbon footprints of a selection of British dairy farms with a view to establishing a baseline against which progress can be measured.   The study reveals very substantial differences in the GHG footprints expressed as CO2 eq/kg fat corrected milk, of different farms, and also finds that there is more variation between farms, than between production systems.  It also concludes that there is no one variable (eg milk yield, fertiliser use or energy consumption) that accounts for most of the variation between farms.

9 February 2012

This paper, by FCRN mailing list member Mike Berners-Lee and others, examines the GHG implications of different dietary choices.

17 January 2011

The purpose of this briefing paper is to explore the different ways in which one might view the contributions that livestock in intensive and extensive systems make to greenhouse gas emissions. 

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