Swedes Put First Carbon Labels On Food
Photo via NY Times
When Swedes examine the packaging of their food products, they're going to see more than nutritional information--now there's going to be a 'carbon label' right next to it. The labels read 'Climate declared: X kg CO2 per kg of product," so people will know just how much greenhouse gas their food is contributing to climate change.
According to the New York Times, it's part of an experiment being pioneered by the Swedish government's Nutrition Department:
New labels listing the carbon dioxide emissions associated with the production of foods, from whole wheat pasta to fast food burgers, are appearing on some grocery items and restaurant menus around the country.If successful, the practice could be adopted nationwide. It's part of the Swede's shifting attitude that climate and health should be given equal weight, as well as environmental and nutritional issues.
There are recent precedents for such an idea--the Global Warming Diet used such a label as a satirical conceit to try to get people to pay attention to the carbon footprint of the food and products they buy. Looks like the Swedes may have taken them seriously.
This idea is indeed gaining traction here in the US, as well--consider the Wal-Mart Sustainability Index, which will include carbon footprint as a primary criterion in the products it rates. And these sustainability ratings will be seen by anyone who strolls through the retail giant's stores. And this is being done privately, as opposed to the Swedes' governmental initiative.
Either way, the phenomenon is undeniable--climate change is already beginning to change the very way we shop and eat.