Denmark Proposes Labeling Food According to its Effect on Climate Change

Denmark Proposes Labeling Food According to its Effect on Climate Change

Denmark officials have proposed food labeling to grade a product’s impact on the environment. This new policy will likely be included in a package devoted to the climate and climate change, slated to be presented by the Danish government this week.

“My impression is that there is a demand for knowledge about how individual consumers can contribute to improving world climate,” Minister for the Environment Lars Christian Lilleholt tells The Local.

“We want to give consumers the means to assess in supermarkets the environmental impact of products.”

The proposal will include a collaboration with supermarkets to make it easier for consumers to make choices that reduce their impact on climate change.

“I will enter into dialogue with the retail sector, butchers and other food producers to open a discussion about how we can implement this in a way that would enable the climate labelling to work,” Lilleholt said.

Food production weighs heavily on climate change, particularly the livestock sector, which currently represents 14.5 percent of all man-made carbon dioxide emissions, according to the United Nations.

Pesticide use, transport, and packaging also play a role in the carbon footprint of an individual food. The goal of the label is to address all of these elements in order to provide consumers with a global view of a food’s effect on the environment.

“Our goal is to develop an accurate label,” Morten Høyer, director of the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, tells CNN. “We must include every piece of information so products like plant-based substitutes for ground meat has information on the climate impact of the soy in the product which is produced in South America.”

“Things like these are difficult to calculate, so we have a worthy challenge ahead of us before we can say with certainty that we have the right solution for a climate label.”

Denmark currently ranks among the top 20 countries in the 2018 World Climate Change Performance Index.

“Everyone knows that food production influences the climate, but if the rest of the world produced food the way we do in Denmark, the world would be a better place,” says Høyer.

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Emily Monaco is a food and culture writer based in Paris. Her work has been featured in the Wall... More about Emily Monaco