Every year, the greenhouse gases that each and every individual in Germany causes correspond to the impact that 10 to 12 tonnes of CO2 have on the environment. What each individual eats amounts to some 2 tonnes of this, not taking into account thetransport chain, deforestation to make way for pasture land and so, as investigated in a study by WorldWatch Institute. For this reason, their figures for the carbon footprint left by food are significantly higher.
Company canteens, where lots of people eat lunch every day, are the perfect place to bring about significant changes by introducing well-thought out measures.
A snowball effect can also be created if the employees who eat there are given appropriate information to make them aware of the measures being put into action. This can lend a company canteen role model status for the way employees consume food.
Livestock and arable farming give rise to large quantities of CO2, in addition to methane and nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Natural ecosystems and rainforests are destroyed to create arable and pasturelands, hence destroying their ability to bind CO2. Besides cultivation, processing the food, its transport, storage, preparation and disposal also play an important role in this.
Other global issues, such as access to clean drinking water, damage to the environment and health damage caused by pesticides and over-fertilization are closely linked to nutrition.
Germany still has no CO2 label for the CO2 footprint left by food, while Sweden and Great Britain already have one in place. A wide variety of food types carry what is referred to as the Carbon Trust Label, which provides the consumer with a transparent system of recognition. Although the cost of calculating the CO2 footprint is higher in the beginning for growers and producers, it can save money in the long-term, and also boost their image.
Placing a CO2 label on foodstuffs would also make it possible for canteen operators in Germany to improve their own CO2 footprint, since it would make eco friendly purchasing much easier.