What if we measure the environmental impact of our food?
We like to repeat it often: what we put on our plates can change the world. The foods we choose do not have the same environmental impact and it may be that, when we are faced with the shelves of a supermarket, we are not clear about which choices are better than others when it comes to contributing to looking after the planet. The good news is that more and more of us consumers want access to information about the products we buy; however, the bad news is that our conscious purchasing decisions depend, to a large extent, on decisions made much earlier by companies in the food industry.
Moving towards a new ecological valuation
When formulating their products, food companies select their suppliers, negotiate a price for raw materials and define the processing and distribution methods for the foods they market.
It is true that environmental seals and certifications that indicate that a product is made under sustainable criteria are already circulating internationally. The European Union is currently working on a standard, the Product Environmental Footprint. Once this project has been finalised, European countries will work on their own scoring systems, and this is where the thoroughness of the data becomes crucial.
Because in order to know that the decisions of food companies were made in light of environmental ethics, as consumers we have to know that all environmental variables have been taken into account for that product to reach the point of sale. We can make decisions based on carbon footprint, animal welfare or the feeding of animals fit for consumption. Did they feed on soybeans from the other side of the world? Or on cereals that wiped out the biodiversity of a region? In other words, we are moving towards a new ecological scoreboard that aims to be very fine-tuned throughout the production and supply chain.
More data for more conscious decision making
One of the start-ups that is making waves in this area is Carbon Maps. The French company, which has just landed in Spain, does not intend to create the certifications, but to provide the data to design effective tools to perform the calculations that these new seals will require.
How does it do it? Through artificial intelligence, it collects and analyses data from all stages of the food chain, from farmers to consumers. This data is available in a comprehensive science-based climate management platform for the food industry. Thanks to it, any brand in the industry can measure the environmental footprint of its products, ingredients or raw materials.
And we’re not just talking about carbon emissions, but issues such as biodiversity, water use and animal welfare.
The transformation of our food systems requires the participation of all stakeholders.
What are your thoughts on artificial intelligence as a tool to enhance the sustainability of our food systems? Do you know of other companies with valuable proposals? Follow us on social networks to learn more!