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12 September 2016  

INNOCAT-funded study examines food’s carbon footprint

The majority of greenhouse gas emissions associated with food and catering appear in the production phase, according to a study authored by the Italian academic Alessandro Cerutti. The study, which formed part of the work carried out by the INNOCAT project, calculated the carbon footprint of five products purchased by the city of Turin (Italy).

The products – potatoes, apples, carrots, pears and peaches - were chosen because they were the most commonly used by the city’s school catering service. Only fruit and vegetable products were used for the study, as these were the only products covered by all three of the city’s GPP policies (organic produce, short supply chains and use of CNG vehicles for delivery).

The study concludes that for the products studies, the most effective area to focus on in terms of improving emissions would be production mechanisms. The production phase made up for between 60 and 70 percent of the product groups studied. One clear recommendation rising from the study was switching away from conventional agriculture. Switching from conventional to organic or integrated production, for example, reduced GHG emissions by 66,102 tCo2 equivalent for the products studied. This amounts to a thirty two percent reduction in the carbon footprint of the production phase.

For more information, download the article.