Food production is responsible for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions contributing to global warming, according to a University of Oxford study published in 2018. The scale of this can be overwhelming, especially when you start using carbon calculators that inform you that the beans you ate for dinner had the carbon equivalent of powering a house for 2 days. It’s so important that we collectively have a greater understanding of where our food comes from, but piling climate anxiety onto our plates instead of vegetables doesn’t help anyone – instead, we need solutions that make making better choices easier.
Fortunately in Scandinavia, there’s no end of these, as a flourishing startup culture combined with an impressive commitment to sustainability has resulted in some super helpful tools to reduce your food climate footprint.
Whether you’re eating out or cooking at home, these are the initiatives to check out when purchasing food:
Klimato helps restaurants to reduce their carbon impact by climate labeling their meals for them. They offer a calculation, communication, calibration, and compensation scheme that makes it easy for restaurants to see their carbon footprint, customers to choose a carbon-neutral option, and motivates companies to make better choices when buying.
Currently, Klimato is used by the following restaurants:
An app connecting consumers to shops and restaurants having to throw away food at the end of the day. Some great examples are bakeries that have to bake fresh every day or restaurants that didn’t sell all the food they had prepared. With TooGoodToGo you won’t know exactly what you’re getting until you pick it up, but it will be half the RRP. Swings and roundabouts, ey?
A food inventory service for restaurants, stores, food banks, and municipalities. Unless you’re the kind of person who’s really into spreadsheets, this doesn’t sound all that sexy, but this is a female-fronted innovation that has been named one of Europe’s most inspiring food waste changemakers by the European Food Waste Innovation Network. Yeah, now you’re listening.
By working with municipalities, TotalCTRL goes beyond small-scale food waste reduction and is actually a key player in building smart, sustainable cities.
A Danish app that received impressive amounts of funding when launching. It connects consumers with restaurants and shops, letting you choose what you want and browsing through the impressive number of vendors (which includes Itsu! London calling: this one’s for you!)
Ever stared at a packet of green beans and wondered why they were grown in Kenya? The easiest way to ensure your carbon footprint is low is to eat stuff produced close to the point of purchase – in Europe, this goes hand in hand with eating seasonal produce. We don’t just mean strawberries in the summer and pumpkin in the fall. It means really understanding what starts to become abundant at every month throughout the year. If you’re not a farmer, this site will help you to identify what’s good each month and has useful recipe ideas to help you make the most of the seasonal produce.
To hell with supermarkets! If the hunter-gatherer in you wants to take things a step further and forage for your own food in the wild (just a nice field somewhere probably), this app – created by Rene Redzepi – shows you what to expect.
Another great way to reduce food waste and eat local, seasonal produce is to use a vegetable subscription service. Plenty of these work directly with the farmers, taking surplus produce from them and selling on what supermarkets reject.
This article was originally published in May 2020. Please let us know if any updates are needed!