British food labels to display eco-scores from September

This autumn, consumers will be able to see which of their favourite products are actually eco-friendly.

Sustainable food choices
© Unsplash
Sustainable food choices

From September, the British public will be able to makesustainable buying decisions with the help of a new traffic light system of ‘eco-scores.’ These scores will be displayed on various food and drink labels and the scores will be assigned according to the environmental impact of each product.

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The scheme

The initiative was started by non-profit organisation, Foundation Earth, and the scheme has been supported by the government, Néstle, along with major British brands including Marks & Spencers, Sainsbury's, Costa Coffee and Tyson Foods. The pilot will be launched in September and will be trialled for nine months alongside a research project which aims to create a eco-score system that can be used Europe-wide by 2022.

In autumn, various food and drink labels will display an eco-score between A to G, and it will be colour-coded—green will be given to brands that are most sustainable, while red will be assigned to those that are not environmentally friendly. The system being used was devised by food scientists at Oxford University, with help from Word Wide Fund for Nature.

Making the right choices

Currently, the global food industry is responsible for 37% of greenhouse gas emissions, and that figure is set to increase by 30% by 2050.

With this new system in place, the general public will be able to have more power over their own carbon footprints and it will also motivate brands to advance their sustainability practices as well. Luke Pollard, Shadow Environment Minister, said:

People want to do what they can to tackle the climate crisis and help the environment. But at the moment they don't have the information they need to make more sustainable buying choices.
I want to see clearer labelling on carbon and environmental credentials so people can back the brands and products doing the right thing by our planet.

Foundation Earth is aiming to roll out the traffic light system all over Europe by 2022.

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