Climate Labels on Food Are Coming Soon. Here’s Where

These days there is a food label for everything. Looking for vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and even soy-free foods? There is a clear label that signifies the products best for you, but never before has there been a label for the environment. Now, Denmark will be the first country in the world to introduce a state-controlled climate-conscious label on food products. The label will communicate to customers foods that benefit the environment, produced with minimal harm to the planet.

The Danish government will enlist the Danish Plant-Based Association to help formulate the standards for the climate label. The government will allocate DKK 9 million ($1.3 million USD) to complete this project. The final proposal for the climate label plan is expected to be finished by the end of 2022. The project group will be facilitated by the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration and will gather representatives from food services organizations and retail companies countrywide.

”I am pleased that our business association has been given a place in the working group under the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, which will work on making a recommendation for a climate labeling scheme for food,” Chairman of Danish Plantbased Business Association and CEO of Naturli’Henrik Lund said. “Denmark sees a unique opportunity to become a pioneer in the climate labeling of food and set a high standard for correct and indicative climate labeling for the many consumers, who want to shop more climate-friendly.”

“However, this requires that we have the courage to address the whole range of climate issues and incorporate it into a transparent, state-controlled climate scheme. Several of our members in the Danish Plantbased Business Association have already been working with life-cycle assessments and labeling CO2 emissions on their products, so we are eager to get to work.”

The climate label model is currently in early development. The group working on the proposal intends to create a label that will be unambiguous and easy for consumers to understand, helping shoppers find sustainable products while also holding companies accountable for their environmental footprints.

Environmental Progress in Denmark

Most Danes find it difficult to find foods that prioritize sustainability when shopping for their weekly groceries. Only two out of approximately 1,100 consumers surveyed could correctly rank eight ordinary foods according to sustainability standards, according to the Danish Consumer Council. Currently, Danes individual produces seven tons of CO2 per year from private consumption with two tons stemming from food-related purchases.

The Danish government is continuously working to cut down on these harmful food-related emissions. Last January, Denmark revealed new official dietary guidelines that provided more information than ever about eating healthier and more sustainably. The guidelines highlighted the importance of a plant-based diet, especially since the government is attempting to cut its climate footprint by 70 percent by 2030.

Recent Campaigns to Stop the Climate Crisis

The most recent UN IPCC report emphasized that there is still time left, emphasizing that the world can stop the worsening climate crisis, but first must shift to a plant-based food system. Soon after the UN released the report, Denmark invested $100 million into a brand new plant-based fund, dedicated to promoting plant-based education, innovation, and sales.

With Denmark’s plant-based sales increasing by $8 million from 2018 to 2020, the country is recognizing that climate-saving programs can also prove profitable. Despite a historically meat-heavy cuisine, nearly half of Europeans have revealed that they plan to reduce meat consumption. The report also found that 37 percent of Europeans consider themselves vegan, vegetarians, or flexitarian. As Denmark caters to the environment and the growing plant-based population, other countries can take note of the planet-friendly initiatives.

For more about plant-based planet initiatives, check out The Beet’s Environmental News.

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