The NCSSS partnered with Edmonton's Highlevel Diner to highlight the carbon footprint of the food on their menu. The details for this project are located in the FAQ section below. Any feedback on this project is welcome!
Please note that Envirometrics and Northern Climate Pathways were not involved in the NCSSS Highlevel Diner Carbon Footprint Reporting Project.
Feel free to reach out to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any comments or questions.
This project was featured in the news! Here are some links:
The NCSSS has partnered with the Highlevel Diner to highlight the carbon footprint of the food on its menu. Farming, processing, transporting, and cooking food all generate greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming and climate change, and the greenhouse gases (CH4, N2O etc) emitted during these activities is the carbon footprint of that food expressed in carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (CO2e).
The carbon footprint values on the Highlevel Diner menu represents the total estimated carbon footprint of each meal, while the carbon footprint symbols on the menu correspond to diet type and estimated annual carbon footprint of this diet type as shown in the table below.
In 2017 the estimated Canadian per capita carbon footprint was 19,500 kg CO2e (19.5 tons). To help limit the impact of Climate Change and to meet Canada’s Paris agreement targets, Canadians will be required to reduce their annual per capita carbon footprint by approximately 6,725 kg CO2e (6.7 tons) by 2030. Since the food you eat directly contributes to your carbon footprint, introducing more low carbon food sources into your diet could reduce your carbon footprint by as much as an estimated 2,100 kg CO2e (2.1 tons) per year.
The NCSSS is an Edmonton based registered non-profit environmental society that is focussed on community projects for Climate Change. By displaying the carbon footprint of foods on the restaurant menu, the NCSSS hopes to encourage Highlevel Diner restaurant patrons to make low carbon food choices and reduce their carbon footprints. The NCSSS would also like to use the project to improve public carbon footprint literacy and Climate Change awareness.
The carbon footprint values of all available menu items are shown below.
The NCSSS performed academic research on life cycle analysis (LCA) of food emissions and compiled a unit inventory (kg CO2/kg of food item) for most foods. The LCA included emissions from production, transportation, and retail/cooking aspects of the supply chain. The NCSSS then used restaurant food sourcing information (i.e. food type, quantity, location source etc.) to complete the emission calculation for each Highlevel Diner menu item.
The NCSSS will review and evaluate the Highlevel Diner billing analytics before and after the project roll out to estimate the emissions from restaurant meals ordered during these periods. The NCSSS hopes to observe a reduction in emissions resulting from people’s change in food consumption behaviour due to this project.
Animal-based foods have significantly higher production footprint than plant-based foods per unit mass of the food as shown in the chart below.
Red meats like beef and lamb have high carbon footprints due to emissions from their manure, feedstock required to raise them, methane belching from cows. Sea foods have higher footprint than plant-based foods due of their longer production cycle and energy intensive aquaculture needed to farm them.
The NCSSS plans to open source the results and trends from this project to interested parties, but not the data analysis methodology at this time.
This project is a low-cost way to improve carbon footprint literacy and to encourage the general public to make low carbon food choices. Should this project show positive results, the project results would be presented to various relevant parties and policy makers. Ideally the project would be expanded to include food carbon footprint reporting and emission monitoring for multiple restaurants in the city of Edmonton.
This project could also be scaled up to include other metrics such as water footprint, social equality footprint (accounting for farmer’s income used in growing the food) etc. Additional emission factors like kg CO2e/kg food, kg CO2e/kWh could also be used to compare systems of food production. The scope of food carbon footprint reporting could also be expanded to include other items such as soft drinks, coffee, cannabis etc. Further an app or online search tool could also be developed based on this project. A scaled up version of this project could also be used as a template for restaurants in other cities who wish to implement similar food carbon footprint reporting initiatives.