- Top companies in the food industry are leading the sustainable transition through the development of projects to calculate the environmental impact of products, such as ENVIROSCORE. The system developed by the AZTI technology centre and KU LEUVEN improves knowledge and transparency about the degree of sustainability of products.
- The ENVIROSCORE label, supported by science, has been developed to measure the relative environmental impact of food and beverages at the point of sale, as published in Nature, the prestigious scientific journal, in November 2022.
- ENVIROSCORE allows consumers to visualise the environmental footprint of the product through a simple 5-score labelling.
16 March 2023- Achieving a more sustainable, healthy and consumer-friendly food system is one of the main challenges for European businesses and administrations to ensure the commitments set by the Green Pact and the 2030 Agenda. To help achieve these goals, both technological innovation and the collaboration and involvement of the food industry are essential.
In this context, Spanish food companies have begun to commit to measuring the environmental impact of their products, as well as exploring the implementation of the new European ENVIROSCORE® environmental labelling system. This environmental communication system, designed and developed by the AZTI technology centre and KU LEUVEN, is based on a standardised and internationally accepted methodology, which makes it possible to analyse and communicate the environmental impact of food products in a simple, reliable and easily visible way at the point of sale.
These are some of the main Spanish companies to join this path towards reducing the environmental impact of products: the dairy company KAIKU, the aquaculture company AVRAMAR España, the canning company GRUPO CALVO, the oats manufacturer and marketer HARIVENASA and the egg producer and marketer CAMPOMAYOR. All of them have two aspects in common: a business strategy that prioritises sustainability; and they have seen in this label, and the methodology that accompanies it, an option that allows them to know and improve the degree of sustainability of their production (in case it was needed), as well as an exercise in transparency towards their customers and consumers.
“ENVIROSCORE seeks to respond to the growing demand and concern, both from companies and administrations as well as the general public, for producing and consuming food and beverages that are made according to more sustainable and responsible processes”, emphasises Rogelio Pozo, CEO of AZTI.
A scientifically robust method
The ENVIROSCORE calculation is based on the Product Environmental Foodprint (PEF), a methodology accepted, standardised and recommended by the European Commission. It calculates in a single final score the environmental impacts generated throughout all stages of production and consumption of a kilogram of a packaged product, including, among others, the potential for climate change, ozone layer depletion, water pollution or the depletion of fossil resources.
Based on the analysis of these indicators and the use of an Artificial Intelligence algorithm, the aggregated score is converted into a simple, visual and intuitive communication system with 5 scales (A | B | C | D | E), which integrates all aspects related to the production, processing, packaging, distribution, consumption and waste management of that product.
The global vision of the environmental impact of products and the corresponding ENVIROSCORE labelling allows companies to design impact reduction strategies and make decisions considering the environmental and economic costs of these strategies.
The initiative has been supported by many companies and funded by the Basque Government and the European Union itself through the European food innovation agency EIT Food.
The ENVIROSCORE system, based on the PEF, has been validated in more than 20 product categories in which scenario simulation, eco-design and impact reduction plans have been worked on.
In this sense, and as endorsed by the journal Nature, the life cycle analysis that allows the ENVIROSCORE calculation is presented as a solid methodology to assess the overall environmental impact of a given product or service and to identify the potential environmental reduction due to the application of different environmental improvement strategies in the management of the supply chain.