Pilot Carbon-Labelling Programme in Hong Kong

Creating a positive impact through more informative menus

Source: Farhad Ibrahimzade

Today’s global food system accounts for between 25 – 33% of global man-made greenhouse gas emissions. With a rapidly growing global population and increasing urbanisation, the demand for food is expected to double by 2050 leading to more intensive food production and higher emission levels. 

Over-cultivation, livestock production, high fuel usage, increasing food waste and non-reusable packaging are just some of the factors increasing emission levels that are in turn accelerating global warming. Moreover, increasing global warming is expected to escalate the risks relating to food security significantly. Extended droughts are affecting crops and harvesting periods and may even be reducing animal productivity. At the same time, temperature shifts in the sea are causing various fish species to migrate which is disrupting global marine fisheries. Given all these factors, we urgently need to transition to more sustainable food systems – both for the sake of the planet and also to feed a global population that recently passed the 8 billion mark.

Food Made Good HK has therefore introduced carbon-labelling programmes in Hong Kong. The aim is to raise awareness of food’s environmental impact and influence consumers to choose more planet-friendly options from the menu. This is an opportunity for the industry to come together with a shared goal of highlighting that we can all make more informed choices for a better food future..

How does it work?

Any participating food outlet will see a label next to each menu item showing its carbon footprint in kgs of greenhouse gases (CO2 equivalents (CO2e). Low, medium or high climate-impact icons will clearly show the different levels of gas emissions that contribute to global warming. A low climate-impact meal is defined as emitting 0.5 kg CO2e or less, based on WWF’s One Planet Plate initiative for how to eat to reach the UN’s climate goals.

Source: klimato.co

The carbon footprint calculations are based on data retrieved using LCA (Life Cycle Assessments). This is an ISO 14040-certified methodology for assessing the environmental impact of a product during each stage of its life – from farming, production and consumption to wastage. The carbon footprint is an aggregate of different factors including land use, transport and packaging to provide a precise impact measurement.

Source: klimato.co

Where do we get the data?

We work with our data partner Klimato that’s spent years compiling an extensive database of food items and their average carbon footprint. Klimato works with numerous restaurants, universities and caterers and is backed by prominent research institutes such as the RISE Food Climate Database and the Swedish Environmental Institute. Since Food Made Good HK is pioneering this programme in Hong Kong, there is currently no emissions data to compare and benchmark a typical meal served locally. We are therefore adapting the data to best reflect the true impact of each dish by adding transport emissions and working closely with Klimato.

How do I get involved?

We currently offer our services to Hong Kong and APAC region caterers, restaurant outlets and land developers.

Want to be part of the movement? Then feel free to reach out and learn more about the programme and how we can get you started! Just email: [email protected] 

What does it look like?

Carbon-labelled menu for The Aubrey & Wahaca

DATA PARTNER