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28 February 2014  

INNOCAT Interest Group seeks applicants

INNOCAT is currently setting up a project Interest Group to follow the project’s activities, with the possibility to get involved more directly. If you are interested in following the activities of the INNOCAT project, or potentially participating directly in procurement activities, please contact innocat@iclei.org.

Interest group members will receive the INNOCAT e-Newsletter every six months with updates on project news; receive an invitation to join the Sustainable Catering Forum, an online discussion group involving stakeholders interested in gaining a better understanding of eco-innovation in the catering sector; and be invited to join a Buyers Group, to collaborate in one of several possible tenders.

The precise products or services likely to be procured by the Buyers Groups include energy efficient vending machines; innovative packaging and waste disposal solutions; containers and packaging for hospital food; and school catering services.

For more information, click here.

26 February 2014  

Environmental footprinting gains momentum in food and drinks industry

In recent years, the concept of environmental footprinting has increasingly attracted attention among policymakers and become a marketing point for the food and drinks industry. Consequently, a wide range of indicators have emerged to increase transparency for consumers about the environmental impact of food and drink products. The ecological footprint is commonly subdivided into: the carbon footprint, which refers to the carbon emissions a product, event or individual generates; and the water footprint, which refers to the amount of water that is needed for producing a good or service.

With regard to the food sector, several sector specific concepts have emerged. One example of this is ‘food miles’, which describe the distance a food product traveled from harvest to the supermarket. Additional factors are also being added. To calculate the environmental footprint of a food product more holistically, it is important to also take into account the land, water, and energy that are needed to grow, produce and supply food. This also entails analysing the farming method, use of pesticides and fertilizers, packaging materials, animal feed, as well as the carbon footprint of refrigeration, transport and cooking.

According to the European Commission, the European food and drink sector constitutes about 23 percent of global resource use, 18 percent of GHG emissions and 31 percent of acidifying emissions. The European Environment Agency (EEA) states that the biggest environmental impact of the agricultural sector occurs during food chain lifecycle, particularly in the beef and dairy sector. Food processing on the other hand is said to have comparatively very little environmental impact.

For more information, click here.

17 February 2014  

INNOCAT Interest Group seeks applicants

INNOCAT is currently setting up an Interest Group to follow the project’s activities, with the possibility for members to get involved more directly. If you are interested in following the activities of the INNOCAT project or potentially participating in procurement activities, please contact innocat@iclei.org.

Interest group members will receive the INNOCAT e-Newsletter every six months with updates on project news; receive an invitation to join the Sustainable Catering Forum, an online discussion group involving stakeholders interested in gaining a better understanding of eco-innovation in the catering sector; and be invited to join a Buyers Group, to collaborate in one of several possible tenders.

The precise products or services likely to be procured by the Buyers Groups include energy efficient vending machines; innovative packaging and waste disposal solutions; containers and packaging for hospital food; and school catering services.

For more information, click here.

10 February 2014  

Apply for the Public Procurement of Innovation Award

Interested stakeholders are encouraged to seize the opportunity and apply for the Public Procurement of Innovation Award. The award will be presented to an exemplary public authority that purchases innovative, effective and efficient products and services.

Public authorities can apply for the award by completing the application form and sending it to the Procurement of Innovation Platform team. Applications for the award close on 31 March 2014. Already a number of high-level organisations have applied to take home the prize.

The successful entry will be selected in May 2014 and will receive a trophy together with the title “European innovation procurement of the year”; receive promotion across Europe and internationally; gain the possibility of attending a paid experience exchange visit to a selected public authority; and be invited to attend the EcoProcura 2014 conference free of charge. The winner will also be made the subject of a case study, available on the Procurement of Innovation Platform.

For more information, click here.

4 February 2014  

Vegetarian diet can help reduce water consumption

A new study concludes that vegetarian diets substantially reduce water consumption, regardless of region. In the EU, the consumption of agricultural products constitutes 89 percent of the total water ‘footprint’, which accounts for 4265 lcd (litres per person per day) out of a total of 4815 lcd. This illustrates the substantial influence diet has on water consumption, a major concern in times of globally declining water resources.

The study examined the effects of diet on water consumption levels in different geographical regions of Europe, taking into account each area’s diet. For each, the water footprints of three different diets were calculated: the current diet in the region, a healthy diet and a vegetarian diet, which is based on a healthy diet with meat substituted with other sources of protein. The results show that the vegetarian diets achieve the highest water footprint reductions, with a drop of between 27 percent and 41 percent depending on region. The healthy diet also resulted in lower water consumption levels, from 3 percent to 30 percent.

This study demonstrates that the reduction of meat, sugar and oil consumption in a diet can significantly lower a person’s water footprint, even when regional differences are taken into account. The researchers note that the calculation might even be an underestimation of current water consumption levels, as the water footprint estimates for fish are not available and could not be included.

For more information, click here.