It is one of the 149 proposals of the citizens’ convention for the climate. A CO2-Score could well appear on consumer product packaging in the coming years. The stated objective is clear: to make the carbon impact of products and services transparent and to bring it to the attention of consumers. “In principle, it’s something ultra-positive. It responds to a real thirst for transparency on the side of consumers,” comments Olivier Andrault, food and agriculture officer at UFC-Que Choisir.
It remains – and this is the challenge – to define the method of calculation. “The question is:” what are the parameters that we will take into account? Is the carbon footprint the right criterion and is it a sufficient criterion? “Asks Olivier Andrault, advancing a paradoxical example: cattle raised intensively and using growth hormones in the United States. In the end, the United States could end up with a more favorable carbon footprint than those raised in the open air in Cantal because the former are shot very young, hence the importance of the calculation method used.
Initiative and limits
A carbon score, the online organic store La Fourche offers on all the products it sells since September 2019. “It took us a little over a year of work because the calculation is simple, which is complicated, it is to have the necessary information on the product “, explains Lucas Lefebvre, co-founder of La Fourche. Their indicator designed with the collaborative sustainable kitchen application Etiquettable takes production, processing, storage, transport and packaging into account and is based on figures from Ademe. Result: a carbon footprint expressed in grams of CO2 emitted per 100 grams of product. But knowing that green lentils have a footprint of 60 g CO2 / 100 g remains very abstract. So The Forks adds a grade from E red to A + green to have a reference scale.
“This shows that in terms of carbon footprint, a kilo of beef is equivalent to 100 kg of fruit and vegetables”, illustrates Lucas Lefebvre, noting in passing an increase on The Forks in sales of a chili con seitan ( an alternative to meat) compared to the chili con carne of the same brand. For processed products in the same category, the recipe (cookies with or without butter, for example) can therefore play on the carbon note. But “a French steak and an Argentinian steak will have
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