Sustainability Criteria

How do we estimate environmental impact?

Quantifying the environmental impact of meals is incredibly complex, but very important. The global food industry is responsible for approximately one third of human greenhouse gas emissions: we must reduce this and thankfully we have the necessary technology to do so. We believe consumers can play a pivotal role in triggering this change in the food sector.

The UK has set its target for food emissions at 4.09 kg CO2eq per day per person by 2030. What does this number mean? It means we’re not doing enough. Average emissions today are 5.17 kg CO2eq per day per person: this is too much.

At Carbon Codes, we want to help you play your part in bringing this down. By cross-referencing different databases kindly shared with us by University of Oxford researchers, Small World Consulting, and other leading experts in the field, we calculate the estimated emissions of the different meals served at our partner restaurants. We then advertise those options which have estimated GHG emissions below the necessary amount per estimated caloric content to meet the UK’s food-carbon budget by 2030.

How do we distribute the food carbon budget across meals?

Our figures are benchmarked to the estimated calorie intake per meal, separated into breakfast (20%), lunch (30%), dinner (30%), and snacks/ drinks (20%). This breakdown is recommended by the NHS and the British Nutrition Foundation as a balanced calorie intake for healthy nutrition. In turn, the European Commission’s Eurobarometer 330 Survey says that UK nationals have an average of 3.7 snacks (including caloric drinks) per day.

Assuming that, due to variations in the content of these meals across individuals, carbon footprint is roughly distributed evenly with calorie intake, we calculated a maximum carbon footprint per meal item. The upper limit on estimated carbon emissions we accept is therefore 1.227 CO2eq for lunch and dinner dishes and 0.221 CO2eq for snacks and drinks. Lunch items, dinner items, and snacks/ drinks with an estimated carbon footprint below these figures are thereby deemed sustainable by Carbon Codes and will be advertised on our platform.

Are you a researcher?

We are constantly working hard to improve our data, improve our estimates, and guarantee greater accuracy in our results. If you work in this area, we would be thrilled to co-operate with you to further improve statistics on environmental impact. Feel free to reach out to us on our company email addresses, and let’s work together for a better future.


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