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Food carbon labelling for menus

We should all be able to see the carbon footprint of what we eat. That’s why we’ve created a simple carbon label, so everyone can make more sustainable choices.

Carbon labelled menu at the UN Ocean Conference, June 2022

Our food carbon label for menus

A-E rating

Every meal is rated from A (Very Low) to E (Very High). The ratings are based on carbon intensity, or the per kg impact of the item. Here’s why we do this.

Traffic light colours

We use traffic light colours to reinforce whether a meal has a low or high carbon impact.

Total carbon footprint

In some cases, you will also see the total carbon footprint of the meal displayed next to the icon.

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Frequently asked questions

All values are calculated in ‘CO2e’, which means ‘carbon dioxide equivalents’. This is a measure of all greenhouse gas emissions released, where each gas is given an equivalent impact compared to carbon dioxide.

You can read more about this on the Eurostat website.

We collect data on each meal, including its ingredients (and how they’re grown or farmed), processing, any packaging used, and all transportation. This then allows us to complete our calculations.

Every calculation uses the same ‘system boundary’, ensuring we have a standardised system boundary and our values can be compared.

My Emissions does not take into account any offsetting when setting the carbon rating. We believe a true carbon rating should just show the emissions needed to produce the food.

The only time we take into account offsetting is when helping a client go carbon neutral, which we believe is separate to food carbon labelling.

Our rating system is based on a statistical analysis of all the 3,000+ ingredients and recipes in our database.

We believe the thresholds for a carbon label should be set by regulation (just like nutritional thresholds), and are actively engaging with Government about this.

But sadly climate change can’t wait for that, and that’s why we’ve published our own rating!

By using carbon intensity, or the ‘per kg’ carbon footprint of a meal, we can fairly rate foods regardless what type of meal it is.

If we used a total per serving, it might allow people to manipulate

allows us to use the same thresholds when rating breakfasts, lunches, starters, mains, and deserts,   still show whether a meal is A or E in both 

 

This is also why you might see a meal with a higher rating even though the total is lower.

We have different thresholds for drinks, which generally have a much lower carbon footprint per kg.

Our rating system is based on a statistical analysis of all the 3,000+ ingredients and recipes in our database.

We believe the thresholds for a carbon label should be set by regulation (just like nutritional thresholds), and are actively engaging with Government about this.

But sadly climate change won’t wait, and that’s why we’ve published our own rating.

By using carbon intensity, or the ‘per kg’ carbon footprint of a meal, we can fairly rate foods regardless what type of meal it is. For example, it doesn’t mean if we’re looking at a main or starter (which will be much smaller)- both can be compared on the same rating. For this reason, it’s best to compare ratings and values within each category (eg starters, mains, and deserts), and it explains why some meals have a lower total but a higher rating.

Frequently asked questions

Why do we use carbon intensity?

Using carbon intensity means we can show whether any item has a low or high carbon footprint, regardless what category of meal it is (eg starter, main, or desert).

It’s therefore best to compare ratings and values within each category (eg starters, mains, and deserts), and it explains why some meals have a lower total but a higher rating.

This is also how the ‘green-amber-red’ traffic light colours are set on nutritional labels for products in the UK, where values are often displayed ‘per 100g’.

How do we set the A-E ratings?

Our rating system is based on a statistical analysis of all the 3,000+ ingredients and recipes in our database.

We believe the thresholds for a carbon label should be set by regulation (just like nutritional thresholds), and are actively engaging with Government about this.

But sadly climate change won’t wait, and that’s why we’ve published our own rating.

How is the carbon footprint of meals calculated?

We collect data on each meal, including its ingredients (and how they’re grown or farmed), processing, any packaging used, and all transportation. This then allows us to complete our calculations.

Every calculation uses the same ‘system boundary’, ensuring we have a standardised system boundary and our values can be compared.

Is offsetting taken into account?

My Emissions does not take into account any offsetting when setting the carbon rating. We believe carbon labels should be based on all the emissions a food produces.

The only time we take into account offsetting is when helping a client go carbon neutral. But for us, this is entirely separate to food carbon labelling.

What does 'CO2e' mean?

All values are calculated in ‘CO2e’, which means ‘carbon dioxide equivalents’. This is a measure of all greenhouse gas emissions released, where each gas is given an equivalent impact compared to carbon dioxide.

You can read more about this on the Eurostat website.

Join sustainable companies adding carbon labels to their menu today