Environmental Footprint Calculations

We provide calculations of the carbon footprint, pollution, land use and water use of catering menus and food products using the most up-to-date Life Cycle Assessment data for food items and recipes.

We also have our own extensive database of the environmental impacts of common recipes and food items, which we can offer to help you fill in the gaps. See our FAQs for more detailed information about how our impacts are calculated.

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Carbon Footprint

The carbon footprint of food is measured in kilograms of CO2-equivalent per kilogram of food. This measure accounts for greenhouse gases emitted from a wide range of sources during a food item's life-cycle. All greenhouse gas emissions are converted into the equivalent warming impact of carbon dioxide.

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Land Use

The land use of food is measured in square metres per kilogram and describes the space that crops and livestock occupy each year. The land use metric accounts for both direct and indirect land use. Indirect land use includes the use of land to grow crops to feed livestock.

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The pollution of meals is measured in kilograms of phosphate-equivalent per serving. This accounts for the polluting impact of fertilisers and other agrochemicals from farms into rivers and waterways.

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Water Use

The water use of meals is measured in litres-equivalent per serving. The metric we use is weighted by the water scarcity in the region in which crops and livestock are produced. This is key as the urgency of reducing water use varies depending on location-specific factors such as rainfall, topography and water-reserve management.