The new labeling, promoted by the Foundation Earth organization – made up of institutions such as the University of Oxford, the European Institute of Innovation (EIT) and companies such as Nestlé, Co-Op, Tyson Foods and Sainsbury’s – has as its main objective to offer consumers the possibility to assess at a glance the level of respect with the environment of food that they buy, since they will be able to compare products within a specific category, with qualifications that run from a Green A + – the most ecological -, for the lowest score, Rojo G.
The information, published in the specialized magazine Olive oil times, in an article signed by Paolo DeAndreis, adds that the criteria by which this level of environmental respect will be measured will be:
- Water Pollution
- Loss of biodiversity
- The use of water
- Total carbon emission
This last piece of information, carbon emission, will determine up to 49% of a product’s final eco-label, while the other criteria will each weigh 17% percent. The decision to place the greatest emphasis on carbon emissions will benefit olive oil producers, since according to the International Olive Council estimates, for every liter of virgin olive oil produced in an established semi-intensive olive grove with a medium yield cultivation, there is a net carbon sequestration of 8.5 kilograms.
Foundation Earth components and sponsors hope that the final results of the project will allow consideration of the adoption of the new eco-label across Europe. Currently, dozens of different eco-label systems coexist, including the well-known EU eco-label, which currently applies only to non-food products.
According to an EU-backed Eurobarometer survey, European consumers still do not place sustainability among their top priorities when buying food, instead prioritizing taste, food safety and price. The origin of food and its nutritional qualities are considered by 30% percent of those surveyed and, in comparison, only 15% take into account the sustainability of the packaged foods they buy.