Food Service Legislation & carbon accounting tools for foodservice

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Get ahead and work out what carbon accounting tools you need to do before change is forced upon you by legislation, such as the 2021 Environment Bill. If you don’t, you could expose your business to considerable risk.

leaf-with-footprint-symbolising-carbon-footprint

Get ahead and work out what carbon accounting tools you need to do before change is forced upon you by legislation, such as the 2021 Environment Bill. If you don’t, you could expose your business to considerable risk.  

The UK government’s legal commitments to slashing emissions by 78% by 2035, and achieving net-zero by 20501, means it is tightening regulations and increasing expectations of commitments from the business community. Setting targets and addressing impacts – such as carbon, waste, energy use and worker welfare now – will reduce costs and complications. Early action will also provide time for considered, collaborative and fit-for-purpose solutions, strengthening your business and brand and allow time for the preparation of the correct carbon accounting tools for your business and the targets you have set to achieve.  

Carbon accounting can be used to help companies’ workout how much carbon they are on average using, and emitting into the atmosphere. Also known as, greenhouse gas inventory. This makes it easier for companies to use carbon accounting tools to help with reduction targets. 

Food Service Legislation: likely impact? 

With wide ranging Food Service Legislation being introduced as a result of these commitments, the ones most likely to affect foodservice include: 

The Environment Bill, which sets out targets, plans and policies for improving the natural environment; as well as statements and reports regarding environmental protection; waste and resource efficiency; air quality, water, nature and biodiversity. 

The Food Service Legislation also requires English businesses with more than 250 employees operating food and drink outlets will be required to provide the calorific content of their menu from 6 April 2022. 

Further rules enforcing separation of waste are expected in 2023, with the onus expected to be on businesses to sort their waste. 

A tax on plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% recycled material comes into force in the UK in April 2022.2 

In Scotland, the Deposit Return Scheme starts on 1 July 2022, including a refundable 20p deposit for single-use containers, and businesses being responsible for return points and management. A similar scheme is expected in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

“The Environment Bill is going to drive huge changes,” notes Dr Emma Keller, Head of Sustainability, Nestlé UK & Ireland.

“For example, it will be illegal to have ingredients from sources of illegal deforestation. Companies are going to need to know exactly where we’re buying from. If we don’t get ahead, it will cost us more in the long run. The best thing we can do is be prepared and plan so we can absorb those costs as effectively as possible.” 

Carbon accounting isn’t perfect, but’s a good starting point and an important metric to help us gauge the environmental practices and impacts of a product. Carbon accounting alone shouldn’t be looked at in isolation though. Other key metrics such as water, biodiversity and land use must also be considered. The best measures integrate these considerations too. We just need to be conscious of those other impact areas. 

Carbon accounting tools for foodservice 

There are many tools out there, and no one size fits all, but the following are some of those carbon accounting tools commonly used in foodservice. 

  • The Authenticate platform helps businesses map finished and raw products back to source and monitors suppliers to ensure compliance and measure environmental, social and governance risk from anywhere in the world. 
  • The Carbon Disclosure Project’s standardised and globally recognised reporting system reduces the burden of collecting and submitting data, making measurement and comparison easier. 
  • The Carbon Trust has many tools and resources and also offers carbon foot printing and life cycle analysis services. 
  • Ecovadis is well known for its business sustainability ratings and is often used to measure and identify supply chain impacts. 
  • Mondra is a data tool that allows businesses to monitor, track and communicate a product’s overall environmental performance. 
  • Quantis provides foot printing tools and consultancy for businesses wanting to track their carbon accounting impacts. 

For an action plan on procuring energy-efficient equipment in foodservice, visit: https://www.foodservicefootprint.com/equipped-for-the-future/

 

  1. BEIS (2021) UK enshrines new target in law to slash emissions by 78% by 2035
  2. HMRC (2020) Plastic packaging tax

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