Environmental Labelling for Food

In the project “Climate Protection and Nutrition: Climate Label vs. Eco-Score – Options for Climate and Environmental Labelling of Food”, corsus, Zühlsdorf + Partner and the KATALYSE Institute examined and presented the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to environmental labelling of food. The report was commissioned by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV).

The project addressed the question of how, on the basis of the current data situation, a scientifically sound environmental label for foods that meets practical requirements and provides consumers with a reliable basis for decision-making can be designed. In addition, it was analysed how introduced and planned label concepts are to be assessed. For this purpose, economic, political and social requirements for the successful conception of label concepts were described on a scientific basis and a proposal for implementation was developed.

The result of the project is that environmental labelling for food makes sense and should be established as soon as possible – also to prevent misleading labelling and to actively shape the process in the EU within the framework of the ‘Farm-to-Fork Strategy’.

Food, vegetables

However, an eco-label can only be one element in a socio-ecological transformation strategy for sustainable food systems. An integrated food policy for a more sustainable diet encompasses the four target areas ‘environment’, ‘health’, ‘social’ and ‘animal welfare’. Government sustainability labels should therefore be developed in such a way that they can be integrated into an umbrella label concept. Such a labelling field could become the central information on the sustainability impacts of food and thus make a significant contribution to consolidating the ‘label jungle’. With the Nutri-Score, a five-level, colour-coded label is already on the market; the livestock labelling system for animal welfare is similar and could also be designed in a comparable way. The described concept for an environmental label is based on this. In the future, a score for the social dimensions of production could also be designed accordingly.

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