ITAB, Sayari and Very Good Future have submitted to ADEME (French EPA) and to the French Ministry of Ecological Transition their proposal for environmental labeling of food products, the « Planet-score ».
Based on LCA, this proposal integrates recent scientific advances on the impacts of pesticides on human health and ecosystems, the impacts of agricultural practices on climate change, and biodiversity and synthesizes this multi-criteria assessment in a composite, intuitive and visual score, in line with consumer expectations.
Pursuant to the law on the fight against food waste and for circular economy, an 18-month experimentation has been initiated by the French Government with the aim to define, by the end of 2021, an environmental labeling for consumer information on food products.ITAB ( the French Technical Institute for Organic food and agriculture) and its partners Sayari and Very Good Future now provide a method and a display format mobilizing scientific knowledge in order to inform and guide decisions towards a more virtuous diet for the health of humans and the planet, from farm to fork.
Our “Planet-score” proposal is aligned with the specifications of the French EPA (ADEME)’s call for proposal as well as with recommendations of its Scientific Council : to propose a method allowing a differentiation i) between food items’ categories (e.g. meat versus apple) and ii) within a given food category (e.g. different types of apple, produced according to different production practices). The score is based on LCA, and supplemented by a number of additional indicators to account for impacts that are currently little, not or poorly covered in LCA (pesticides, climate, biodiversity and animal welfare).
Consumer information is provided in a composite format, displaying four indicators in addition to an aggregated score.
We have carried out i) qualitative studies at retailers, for both organic and conventional brands, and ii) a quantitative study sampling 1000 people representative of the French population. They have shown that our format meets consumers’ expectations of transparency and information, displaying key criteria for their decision making. As a result it activates powerful levers in terms of behavioral changes (far superior to those of a single environmental score).
Our proposal is a first step, and we are open to exchange and discussion with the entire scientific community, French and international, to develop it so as to best reflect the range of environmental issues for a transition towards sustainable food.In terms of perspective, we see the Planet-score as a powerful lever to lead the entire ecosystem, be it producers, farmers, processors and retailers, towards more virtuous approaches.
We thank our partners, NGOs, consumer associations, conventional and organic companies who supported us along this effort.