• The AZTI technology centre and the University of Leuven have developed ENVIROSCORE, an environmental labelling system that enables easy recognition of the degree of environmental sustainability of food and beverages at point of sale.
  • The label is based on the Product Environmental Footprint approved by the European Commission and underwent a rigorous validation process before being launched.
  • ENVIROSCORE allows companies to measure and communicate the environmental impact of their products in simple terms and helps consumers choose more sustainable products.

Derio, 8 February 2022.- All eyes are focused on the food system, which is both the cause and the victim of environmental impacts generated in Europe. With a view to reducing environmental deterioration and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, it is thus essential to promote more sustainable production and more responsible consumption of food and beverages.

To meet this important challenge, the AZTI technology centre and the University of Leuven (Belgium) have developed ENVIROSCORE®, an environmental labelling system that measures products’ impact based on the internationally accepted and standardised European Product Environmental Footprint methodology.

ENVIROSCORE is useful for both the agro-food industry and consumers. It allows the former to measure and communicate the environmental impact of its products in a simple manner, combining 16 environmental impact categories into one result and promoting product eco-design throughout the supply chain. For the latter, it provides easy-to-understand information so that food and beverage products and product categories can be compared, thereby encouraging more sustainable consumption patterns.

ENVIROSCORE allows consumers to compare the degree of environmental sustainability between different products and between variants of the same product type, facilitating the identification of products with more sustainable production methods, transport or packaging material, without demonising a specific product.

An algorithm that combines 16 environmental impacts

“ENVIROSCORE is an algorithm that incorporates in one final score the environmental impacts generated throughout all the production and consumption stages of a kilogram of product. Specifically, it combines 16 environmental impacts, including climate change potential, ozone layer depletion, water pollution, fossil resource exhaustion and toxicity, among others,” explains one of the tool’s creators, Saioa Ramos, a researcher in the area of Efficient and Sustainable Processes at AZTI.

Based on that analysis, the aggregate score is converted into a simple, visual and intuitive five-level communication system (A| B | C | D | E). This classification covers all aspects associated to how that product is produced, processed, packaged, distributed and consumed and how its waste is managed.

“After validation with 150 food products, it was concluded that the system can ascertain impact variability between different food and beverage products and, within the same product typology, discern those products with ‘worse’ production techniques, excessive packaging or long transport distances,” the AZTI expert affirms.

Support from institutions and businesses

ENVIROSCORE is a labelling system developed by a group of independent scientists to meet the ever-growing concerns of companies and consumers regarding more sustainable and responsible food production and consumption. This initiative is also supported by numerous companies, as well as by the Basque government and by the European Union through the European EIT Food innovation initiative, which strives to make the food system more sustainable, healthy and trustworthy.

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