Denmark might make history in the labeling industry. For years, Danish activists have been pushing for a climate change label, which indicates a food or drink's environmental impact. Denmark government legislators recently began taking proposals from supporters of this sustainability effort and may implement this practice on a national scale. The Danish Agriculture and Food Council is leading this initiative.
The DAFC is still working out exactly how this label will appear on products. One idea is a comparison between a product's nutrients and its climate effect. For instance, a junk food item might not impact the climate immensely, but it will not provide significant nutrition for anyone who eats it.
Climate impacts of food
Many humans take foods' nutrition into account before consuming them, as they are clearly printed on the labeling. However, many people do not take their meals' environmental impacts into consideration. If the Danish government approves the implementation of the climate label, Danish consumers can see how their food impacts more than their body's health alone. Some of the common factors that contribute to the sustainability of food and drink include:
Climate change is particularly a concern in consuming livestock. According to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock sector makes up 14.5 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. It might be difficult to measure out exactly how much a pound of chicken breast might impact the environment, but it's a task the DAFC is willing to take on.
Foods that had to travel overseas have a more negative effect on the environment than locally-sourced foods. Imported fruits, vegetables and meats might have traveled a great distance to your grocery store on planes, trains and automobiles. These journeys use fuel that negatively affect the environment in varying degrees.
Amount of pesticides
When farmers use pesticides on their crops, they kill off ecosystems. You may have heard of the bee populations, which have declined 30 percent every year since 2006 due to pesticide levels, according to the Pesticide Action Network of North America. Bats and frogs are also falling victim to these deadly chemicals.
What this could mean for the future
If Denmark passes this legislation, other countries might follow suit. By providing consumers with the knowledge of various foods' environmental impacts, populations might start eating more sustainable foods and lean away from environmentally unfriendly nourishment. The bees, bats and frogs will thank us.