At Foundation Earth, we are determined not to let the pursuit of perfection be the enemy of doing what is possible. While an intensive research and development programme gets underway to produce an optimum and fully automated scoring system for 2022, we have launched a pilot programme to test consumer response to front-of-pack environmental scores. This programme allows the Foundation and its partners to assess how each method performs and how consumers respond to the labels, as it sets about developing an optimum scoring system and label for full roll-out in 2022.
This pilot will use a farm to shelf method, borne out of research within an academic paper by Poore & Nemecek (2018). It assesses a foods environmental impact through four key criteria: water usage, water pollution, biodiversity and carbon. In the simplest terms, we gather information about the product, conduct a ‘Life Cycle Assessment’ to put numbers to the impacts and finally award the score you see on our front of pack labels.
This method assesses a product’s environmental impact by assessing the farming, processing, packaging and transport. The impacts are weighted 49% to carbon and 17% each for water usage, water pollution and biodiversity loss.
Our second pilot will use a farm to fork method. The system produces an easy to understand label to communicate the environmental impact of food & beverage products based on the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) European Methodology developed by DG Envi (Com 2013/179/EU).
PEF takes 16 categories into account: Climate Change, Ozone Depletion, Ionising Radiation (HH), Photochemical Ozone Formation (HH), Respiratory Inorganics, Non-cancer Human Health Effects, Cancer Human Health Effects, Acidification Terrestrial and Freshwater, Eutrophication Freshwater, Eutrophication Marine, Eutrophication Terrestrial, Ecotoxicity Freshwater, Land Use, Water Scarcity, Resource Use (Energy Carries), Resource Use (Mineral and Metals).