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Carbon footprint of food - an approach from national level and from a food portion

Virtanen, Yrjö; Kurppa, Sirpa; Saarinen, Merja; Mäenpää, Ilmo; Mäkelä, Johanna and Grönroos, Juha (2010) Carbon footprint of food - an approach from national level and from a food portion. Paper at: 9th European IFSA symposium, Vienna, 4-7 July, 2010.

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Online at: http://ifsa.boku.ac.at/cms/fileadmin/Proceeding2010/2010_WS3.2_Kurppa.pdf

Summary

The evaluation of food chain environmental impacts was conducted using an environmental
accounting model developed for the Finnish food sector, and a model of a Finnish standard lunch plate, which
followed nutritional recommendations and represented division of a plate into three parts; half of the plate
comprising vegetables, one quarter protein and one quarter carbohydrate.The impacts on climate change were
analysed over the whole food chain. Different methods of food processing were assessed: preparation of a
standard lunch plate at home, public food service preparation of lunch portions and industrial processing of
ready‐made food. The overall aim was to help consumers make environmentally responsible choices in
consumption and identify the key areas requiring improvement in terms of climate change and the food supply
chain.According to environmental accounting in the food sector, the food chain accounts for 7% of CO2
emissions, 43% of CH4 emissions, and 50% of N2O emissions produced across the entire economy. Impact
contribution of the Finnish food chain in climate change was calculated to be 14%. Food represented 15‐20% of
the climate change impact of daily consumption. The carbon footprint ranged from 570g to 3.5kg equivalent
CO2 for a single food portion. Impact profiles of portions varied depending on raw material composition and
production procedure. Producers of animal products, food consumers making their food choices, and
particularly decision makers in public catering are the critical stakeholders for minimizing climate change
impacts of the food chain.


EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:LCA, input-output statistics, lunch plate, food, carbon footprint
Subjects: Environmental aspects
Research affiliation: Finland
Deposited By: Koistinen, Riitta
ID Code:17562
Deposited On:16 Sep 2010 10:30
Last Modified:16 Sep 2010 10:30
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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