Should Packaging Include A Label On Environmental Impact?

The Lempert Report
December 07, 2018

Denmark thinks so.

“We want to give consumers the means to assess in supermarkets the environmental impact of products,” says the Minister for Denmark’s Environment, Lars Christian Lilleholt.

TIME reports that The Danish Agriculture & Food Council (DAFC), a trade interest group, welcomes the proposal, but stressed that nutritional value must not be forgotten alongside environmental impact. “It might be necessary to weigh up the environmental impact against the nutritional value of the product. A bottle of soda may have a low environmental impact, but it is not a product you can live on,” DAFC director Morten Høyer said in a press statement.

The labeling plan, which will involve a collection of supermarkets, will also include a campaign to help consumers better select environmentally friendly products.

“My impression is that there is a demand for knowledge about how individual consumers can contribute to improving world climate,” said Lilleholt.

Denmark, a signatory of the Paris Climate Agreement, ranks among the top 20 countries in the 2018 world Climate Change Performance Index, which evaluates efforts to combat climate change.

Denmark’s food label proposal comes in the wake of a landmark U.N. report this week, which warned the world has about 12 years to avert climate catastrophe at the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions.

Food cultivation and transportation are among the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in many developed countries. According to a 2011 Food and Agriculture Organization report, the annual carbon footprint of wasted food alone accounts for about 8% of all global emissions.