Denmark: ‘food labels should include climate impact’

Food is labelled to show its ingredients and allergens – why not also the impact it has on the climate? asks Denmark

Food is labelled to show its ingredients and allergens – why not also the impact it has on the climate? asks Denmark

The Danish government is considering forcing food manufactures and supermarkets to label their products according to the impact they have on the environment and on climate.

Officials have begun discussing proposals to introduce such a labelling system, and say they have been working with the European Union to develop a climate label for 10 years.

“It may be necessary to compare the climate effect of a product with how nutritious it is. A soda might only have a small impact on the climate, but it will not sustain you,” Morten Høyer from the Danish Agriculture and Food Council told CNN.

“Our goal is to develop an accurate label. 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,” Høyer explained.

Currently, there are ethical labelling systems like Fairtrade, or the Marine Stewardship Council standard for sustainable seafood. Badges for sustainable palm oil, though more tricky to find, also exist, and there are also several ‘high welfare’ schemes for meat, dairy and eggs. Selecting healthier products is also getting easier thanks to initiatives such as the traffic-light nutritional labels.

Our goal is to develop an accurate label. We must include every piece of information

“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.”

Image: Anne Preble

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