Eco label receives business boost

Food industry giants including Tesco, PepsiCo and Starbucks have given their support to a new eco-labelling scheme.

PepsiCo, Danone, Starbucks, Tesco, Lidl, Waitrose, Aldi and Morrisons are the latest businesses to join the advisory group of Foundation Earth, the non-profit organisation that recently launched a new front-of-pack environmental ‘score’.

The eco label uses a traffic light-style system to rank products on a sliding scale from A to G based on carbon, water usage, water pollution and biodiversity loss.

“We believe that consumers have the right to transparency from producers, and we want to give them easy-to-understand information to help them make sustainable choices,” said PepsiCo’s Gloria Gabellini. “For PepsiCo as a producer, it is important that environmental labelling encourages practices that are positive for our planet.”

Food companies including Costa, Marks & Spencer, Greencore, Meatless Farm and Finnebrogue Artisan have already signed up to the initiative and will have products scored during a pilot phase due to begin in September.

Nestlé, meanwhile, is funding research looking to knit together two different systems of environmental scoring: the Enviroscore method developed by KU Leuven and AZTI, the Spanish scientific and technological centre; and the Eco-Impact method developed by sustainability advisory company Mondra which uses data from the University of Oxford and Swiss research centre Agroscope.

Foundation Earth was the brainchild of Denis Lynn, the Northern Irish food entrepreneur who died earlier this year. Professor Chris Elliott, from Queen’s University Belfast, is chairing the scientific committee overseeing the project.

Cliona Howie has been named as the foundation’s Executive Director. She joins from the European Union’s climate change innovation initiative, EIT Climate-KIC, where she was head of circular economy.

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