Wholesale food giant Sysco GB rolls out carbon labelling platform

One of the UK’s largest wholesalers to the foodservice industry, Sysco GB, is supporting its customers to adopt carbon labelling. The move will enable carbon labelling at schools, universities, hospitals and event venues.

Wholesale food giant Sysco GB rolls out carbon labelling platform

Image: Brakes

Sysco GB has collaborated with food data management specialists Nutritics to develop the carbon measurement and labelling tool, called ‘Foodprint’. It will now be made available to all of Sysco GB’s customers via subsidiary Brakes, a foodservice firm.

Foodprint measures carbon emissions across the value chain, from farm to fork. Waste management and packaging are also taken into account. Data is drawn from “the most reliable” sources available, with peer-reviewed industry averages used where site-specific data is not yet available.

This information enables the addition of easy-to-understand carbon labels to menus, conveying the carbon footprint of each dish.

Carbon information should also be used by chefs and other staff to help shape menu designs and shift away from the highest-carbon ingredients while also designing new and innovative low-impact dishes.

Foodprint also has functionality for measuring the water impact of food value chains. Agriculture notably accounts for 65-70% of annual global freshwater use.

“Over 90% of our carbon footprint is the food that we sell, so educating our team and supporting customers on the design and development of menus and the products they are sourcing is vital to us playing our part in tackling climate change,” said Sysco GB’s head of sustainability and government relations.

“With thousands of customers and the industry’s largest development chef team, we are very excited about the opportunity to build on Sysco’s global science-based targets and be at the forefront of transforming the food system and what ends up on the menus of tomorrow.”

On a global basis, Sysco is aiming for a 27.5% reduction in Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions by 2030 against a 2019 baseline. It is also aiming for suppliers accounting for 67% of its Scope 3 (indirect) emissions to establish their own verified science-based emissions goals by 2026.

What’s on the menu?

In response to Chris Skidmore’s Independent Review of the Net-Zero Strategy last, the YJ Government committed to exploring eco-labelling for the embodied emissions of industrial products and is currently consulting on how labelling could support demand for low carbon products. The Government is also working the Food Data Transparency Partnership to develop similar metrics for food labelling.

In a recent survey conducted by Oatly, 62% of 2,000 British adults expressed support for a policy that mandates carbon labelling on food and beverage items.

Additionally, 55% believe that companies should be obligated to disclose this information, while 59% of respondents indicated that they would either reduce or completely stop consuming products with high carbon footprints if they were provided with accurate emissions data.

Several businesses including Oatly have added carbon labelling voluntarily. Included in this cohort are the likes of energy drink brand Tenzing, hotelier Hilton, takeaway delivery platform Just Eat, and plant-based food manufacturer Upfield.

Comments (1)

  1. Rob Heap says:

    As a domestic purchaser of food and drinks, I need to see carbon footprint labelling on all products offered for sale, not just for the catering industry. There is an urgent need for a globally harmonised system for reporting of food and drink carbon footprint and point of sale labelling at both bricks and mortar stores and internet based outlets.
    While Sysco GB has made a start on this for the catering industry, and they should be applauded for that, what are their goals beyond 2030. What is their target date for net zero on Scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions?
    What are others doing to deliver food and drink carbon footprint labelling?
    This is a huge task, but a necessary one, if Mr. & Mrs. general public are to make informed choices about their food and drink carbon footprint.

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