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Robust emissions data for food carbon calculations

My Emissions is making carbon data accessible to food companies, empowering them to make meaningful carbon reductions. 

Carbon labelled menu at the UN Ocean Conference, June 2022

Farm to store carbon calculations

My Emissions has developed a data-driven life cycle assessment approach to calculate the carbon footprint of a food product or meal.

All calculations cover at least the emissions from farming, processing, packaging and transport. This covers the majority of the emissions across the supply chain of a food. 

We focus on the the value chain stages that food companies have the most control over, making our calculations as accurate as possible. If you need support engaging your suppliers or stakeholders across your supply chain, we’re able to support.

My Emissions also completes cradle-to-grave calculations.

Scientific carbon emissions calculations, using primary data.

We’ve built a comprehensive emissions database, which allows us to complete our calculations so quickly. All data comes from life cycle assessments published in peer-reviewed journals, or recognised databases like Ecoinvent and Agribalyse, and we’re constantly adding new values and research to our database.

Collecting primary data is vital to make our calculations as accurate as possible. We collaborate with clients to to get as much primary data as possible, including energy, packaging and transport data.

My Emissions works closely with our research adviser, Angelina Frankowska, at the University of York, to develop and improve our data quality and methodology.

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.

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 adopted our own rating system!

Carbon intensity means the carbon footprint per kg of food. Using carbon intensity, rather than the total emissions produced, allows us to easily compare the impact of different foods and meals. Otherwise, we’d need to create lots of different thresholds depending on the type of food (eg, a starter versus a main course meal), and it could easily be manipulated by misleading serving sizes.

This system copies existing nutritional labelling, which often also use thresholds based on the ‘per 100g’ nutritional content of food.

All our calculations use the same ‘system boundary’, to ensure consistency across our labels. This includes the core emissions of the food product or meal, including emissions from farming, processing, packaging and transport to the store or restaurant.

Yes! Our calculations include the core emissions of a product up to a store or restaurant. This includes packaging of the ingredients and/or final product, and transport to the final location.

At the moment, our carbon label doesn’t look at emissions from stores (e.g. lighting), cooking and disposal. This is because it’s harder to collect data for these stages, and they are generally a much smaller proportion of the food’s carbon footprint.

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.

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