EEKLIM: Workshop on the methodological concept of environmental labelling for food

corsus presented and discussed in a workshop today with members of the Together for Carbon Labelling (TCL) initiative the methodological concept for an environmental label for foodstuffs developed as part of the EEKlim project.

Dr. Ulrike Eberle and Marius Rödder, who developed the concept at corsus, presented the contents. An essential basis for communicating quantitative environmental information in the form of a label is a life cycle assessment database for food produced and consumed in Germany. As this database does not currently exist, the French Agribalyse database forms the basis. Of course, this also has implications for the methodological concept, as an important principle for establishing comparability is the consistency of data sets. The definitions made in Agribalyse, for example on system boundaries or allocations, are therefore also the basis for the method concept. These rules must also be observed if the environmental impacts are determined on the basis of primary data. Primary data is data that specifically depicts the production of the product in question, for example which and how much fertiliser was used to produce the product, whether and which pesticides were used and in what quantities, how much water was used for irrigation and how much diesel was needed for the tractor.

Ulrike Eberle emphasised that it is important not to focus exclusively on the impact on the climate, as the climate impact is only one important environmental impact caused by the production and consumption of food. Other environmental impacts such as the effects on biodiversity, water resources or soil health should also be included in order to ensure the best possible directional certainty. The inclusion of water in particular is essential, as animal and plant products often perform very differently depending on where and how they were produced. For example, the water footprint of food in Germany is largely determined by the almonds and citrus fruits consumed. It is also important that the calculations for an eco-label are independently verified and that label holders, label providers and certifiers are independent.

Together, the participants came to the conclusion that a life cycle assessment database for food products is absolutely necessary in Germany. Marius Rödder noted that the work carried out in France for the agribalysis database should be the starting point for this and added that the aim of the EU LIFE project EcoFoodChoice would be to find out how the data from agribalysis could be transferred to other countries (Germany, Spain, Netherlands). This is an important project, especially against the backdrop of the Green Deal, which explicitly aims to achieve environmental labelling of food. corsus is one of the two German partners in the project.

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