Cop26 menus come with carbon count on food items

Don’t order the burger - it’s a planet killer

Colin Drury
Tuesday 02 November 2021 11:49 GMT
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Nice burger – shame it’s killing the planet.

Restaurants at Cop26 have won praise for including a carbon count on their menu.

Every item offered at venues inside Glasgow’s SEC Centre comes with a carbon dioxide equivalent number showing how much green house gas has been emitted to produce it.

So, while diners ordering the beetroot and broccoli salad at the Clydgebuilt bar and kitchen can feel guilt-free at the 0.2kg CO2e attached to their meal, those fancying the Scottish beef burger might well reconsider when seeing its mammoth 3.9kg CO2e figure.

The idea is the brainchild of Surrey-based catering company Compass Group which runs the food offering at SEC.

The vast multi-national – which employs 500,000 people across the world – says it is aiming to be a net zero company by 2030; and has already trialled similar eco-labelling at various venues, including cafes and restaurants at Oxford University.

Now, with menu calorie counts becoming compulsory in the UK from April next year, there are growing calls to explore if environmental metrics should become mandatory too.

“It’s a really interesting idea,” Caroline Jackson, the Green Party leader of Lancaster City Council, the only-Green led authority in the UK outside of Brighton, told The Independent.

“It’s a simple, easily understood way of raising awareness about what we eat and that could be a really useful way of encouraging diet and behavioural change – which is something that needs to happen if we are to bring CO2 levels down.”

She added that, because carbon counts would take into account food miles, it would also be a way of encouraging restaurants to use more local produce and stimulating local economies.

“The difficulty might be monitoring and in transparency,” she said. “But in theory, I think this could be a really useful tool in the fight against climate change.”

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