The global food industry is responsible for a substantial proportion of the climate crisis, making it clear that ‘radical, rapid change’ is required to effect a drastic reduction in carbon emissions in this sector. That said, sustainability is an unknown area for the majority of food businesses, and many lack the resources and capacity to measure emissions and develop an informed plan towards becoming more sustainable.
While this remains a challenging area, technology can play a key role in automating processes for companies. Technology will be critical in measuring and reporting food waste and emissions in the hospitality and foodservice sector (HaFS), making it easier for food businesses to make confident headway in reducing their emissions.
Food waste continues to pose a significant problem across the hospitality and food service industry. The United Nations Environment Programme's 2021 Food Waste Index reports an estimated 931 million tonnes of food going to waste every year, 26% of which comes from foodservice. Unfortunately, new research suggests the link between food waste and the climate crisis is ‘still not understood’. New innovative solutions and technologies may provide a solution for measuring food waste and associated emissions, and accelerate strategic climate action in the HaFS.
Identifying and decarbonising indirect emissions (also known as scope 3 emissions) from industry remains another crucial part of the puzzle that has yet to fall into place. Scope 3 emissions can account for up to 90% of a food manufacturer’s emissions, meaning that the food supply chain may provide the largest challenge in the journey to climate neutrality. Insufficient data around scope 3 emissions in the food sector render it difficult to enforce public reporting, and while protocols such as the WRAP Scope 3 GHG Measurement and Reporting Protocols for Food and Drink provide a useful framework for reporting emissions, the capacity and resources of the HaFS in tracking and reporting these emissions has been questioned.
"Until recently, companies have focused their attention on emissions from their own operations. But increasingly companies understand the need to also account for GHG emissions along their value chains and product portfolios to comprehensively manage GHG-related risks and opportunities.” – GHG Protocol.
It’s impossible to create any strategic climate action plan without understanding exactly where your business’ carbon emissions originate. The use of technology in assigning, tracking and reporting emissions along a food supply chain can not only help the HaFS inform strategic climate action, but can help them to identify hot spots within their supply chains for improvement. This can provide a key link to food businesses between their food supply and the latest scientific data points, removing the burden on the HaFS to become experts in sustainability.
What's the best way to begin?
It’s clear that a solution is needed to provide accurate emissions data for the food industry, without exhausting time and money, and without having a negative impact on operations. At Nutritics, we believe that digital tracking of the environmental impact of the supply chain in a reliable, responsible and transparent way will be key in informing actionable climate action, and in identifying hot spots within the company for improvement.
In order for this to be effective, environmental impact must be available in real-time to match the fast pace of the food industry; must be automated; and must be evidence-based. Ensuring technology is adaptable to emerging legislation and protocols in reporting emissions will facilitate a progressive approach to climate action in the HaFS. Another benefit of traceability technologies in the HaFS is improved industrial resilience and digital control across the supply chain, which will only become more important as supply chains become disrupted by global events such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Digital tracking provides a competitive advantage to companies in the HaFS who choose to address their emissions head on, and allows them to be honest and transparent with their clients and consumers on their sustainability journey.
How can we help?
Foodprint by Nutritics is a brand new environmental impact tracking and reporting system with a specific focus on quantifying and reporting scope 3 emissions in the HaFS. We’ve brought our best-in-class food data expertise to carbon and water labelling, automating the process so that you can focus on what you do best: running your business.
Our proprietary technology automatically matches your foods, recipes and dishes to peer reviewed LCA data sources, with a specific focus on country of origin. In this way, Foodprint provides foodservice operators with metrics and insights into the impact of the food they serve, from field to fork. In addition to being able to measure and track your emissions on the back end, Foodprint empowers both food businesses and their customers to make more informed and environmentally-conscious decisions.
The benefits of Foodprint include:
- Gain visibility and control over the carbon footprint of your supply chain and track trends over time.
- Understand the impact of your purchasing and how your changes are affecting the environment.
- Automate your non-financial ESG Scope 3 reporting and adjust to align with the sustainability goals of your business.
- Add a carbon footprint score to packaging, dishes and promotional materials.
- Build trust in your brand and take customers with you on your sustainability journey.
Eager to learn more? Watch our free webinar 'Your Foodprint: Carbon Food Tracking Made Simple' in which we discuss the complexity of tracking and reporting scope 3 carbon food missions, share insights on the benefits of displaying a carbon footprint to the customer, and demonstrate Foodprint, our fully automated solution. To find out how Foodprint can make a real difference to your business, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.