Front of pack environmental scores: the Foundation Earth’ pilot launch in Autumn 2021

Jul 02, 2021
Sébastien Bouley
Foundation Earth is an independent, non-profit organisation established to issue front-of-pack environmental scores on food products, enabling consumers to make more sustainable buying choices. Foundation Earth has brought together the world’s two leading systems for measuring the environmental impact of an individual food product and communicating the information clearly and simply to consumers via a front-of-pack score. The Foundation’s pilot launch in Autumn 2021 will use a traffic-light style system developed by Mondra, using data from the academic publication by Poore & Nemecek (2018). This method assesses a food product environmental impact by reviewing its farming, processing, packaging and transport practices. The pilot method assesses environmental impact through four criteria (carbon production (49%), water pollution(17%), water usage (17%), and biodiversity(17%) which are weighed to produce the final score.
The pilot will run in parallel to an intensive nine-month development programme, supported by Nestlé, that will combine the ‘Mondra’ method with a system devised by an EU-funded EIT Food consortium of Belgium’s Leuven University and Spanish research agency AZTI.
The Mondra and EIT Food systems are unique globally, in they both allow two products of the same type to be compared on their individual merits via a complete product life cycle analysis, as opposed to simply using secondary data to estimate the environmental impact of an entire product group. This method of individual assessment using primary data is crucial to encourage sustainable innovation in the international food supply chain.
The Foundation Earth R&D programme will produce an optimum and automated system for use across the UK and EU by 2022.