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Carbon labels added to menus at key sporting events

Sporting events including the Six Nations, the FA Cup Final and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, will this year provide fans with carbon footprint information about the food and drink they buy.

The move, by Freemans Event Partners and footprinting firm Klimato, will see greenhouse gas emissions appear on menus at venues including Wembley Stadium, Lord’s Cricket Ground and Twickenham Stadium.  Freemans estimates that 15 million guests across 400 events each year will be able to clearly see the carbon impact of the food and drink they choose. 

The carbon impact of the dishes will be measured in kg of CO2e, the standard unit for measuring greenhouse gas emissions. Full climate impact information on menu items will be ready in time for the busy spring and summer sporting events calendar.

Freemans is also using the data gathering exercise to undertake a full review of its menus in order to update any existing recipes that have high footprints; where possible certain ingredients or cooking methods will be switched to help lower the emissions of food and drinks. 

A Footprint Intelligence report published in March highlighted some of the foodservice companies that are offering their chefs climate data so they can swap ingredients and reduce the impact of their recipes.

A number of hospitality and foodservice brands are also adding carbon labels to menus and conducting trials with different approaches and designs. Just Eat is working with MyEmissions for example, while WSH has put carbon scores on main meals across all its sites. Wahaca is running trials, too, as is Compass.

Many companies would support a harmonised scheme that runs across the food sector. In December, a new coalition led by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and tech company Mondra was announced, which aims to establish such a “unified industry standard and tech-driven platform to monitor, improve and communicate the environmental performance of products”. 

Separately, the IGD is working on consistent reporting for a new front-of-pack ecolabel. Rather than having competing schemes, the plan is (again) to bring the food sector behind one unified label. NGOs including Clear, the Sustainable Food Trust and Compassion in World Farming have said IGD’s approach is too simplistic.