The global food system is responsible for approximately one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, second only to the energy sector. It is also the leading source of methane and biodiversity loss.

Agriculture has a tremendous carbon footprint, activities like livestock production, deforestation for crop cultivation, hazardous fertilisers, contribute to GHG emissions and hence climate change. The impact is so important that there is a massive need for law to keep intervene and implement new regulations to encourage sustainable farming, change of practises... 

So i wondered, what if carbon footprint labelling on the products we buy were mandatory? 

This would allow us as consumers to be held accountable in our consumption, raise awareness and think of consuming less harmful/more sustainable products. 

But also it would encourage the food industry to reduce its carbon footprint. This would definitely be a way for law to be used to advance a sustainability agenda in the context of climate change.

For example France is in the process to implement a law voted in 2021 for a mandatory carbon labelling law on food items. This law requires food products to display a carbon footprint label indicating the GHG emissions associated with their production, transport, and packaging.

There is also some countries that have established voluntary carbon footprint labelling programs. For example, Sweden and Finland have initiated pilot programs that allow companies to voluntarily label their products with carbon footprint information. This is considered as a first step, before switching to a mandatory law and to warn FMCG to the importance of reducing their GHG emissions.

What seems important is to regulate a standardisation for the calculation : food law can establish regulations and standards for carbon footprint labelling, with all the criteria and methodologies to calculate and disclose the carbon footprint of food products. Like that we can ensure consistency and accuracy in the labelling process. Comparing an apple with an apple ... but here their carbon footprint :).

Food law with carbon footprint labelling can be a strong tool to facilitate consumer awareness and education. The law and schools for example could collaborate by making educational materials on how to read the labels, raise awareness about the environmental impact of food production and the benefits of choosing low-carbon alternatives. Such regulations can promote  various collaborations with the law : with food producers, with shareholders, government agencies, retailers, consumers...

This will also provide incentives and support to local producers and encourage them to adopt sustainable practices and reduce their GHG emissions.

By implementing carbon footprint labelling through food law, countries can contribute to reducing GHG emissions associated with food production and consumption, they will empower consumers to make climate-conscious choices, encourage producers to adopt more sustainable practise, being more transparents.

But what about products with tremendous carbon footprint? Should we still allow them or should we have a threshold per category to not overpass, even ban certain products ? 

Please let me know what you think ?!

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