Upfield smashes carbon labelling target and ups the ante with ambitious half billion products pledge
Plant-based food producer invests in innovative carbon calculation tool to expedite on-pack carbon labelling rollout to 500 million products by 2030
Amsterdam, Netherlands, 26 May 2022. Today, Upfield, the world’s largest plant-based food company and producer of plant-based spreads, butters, creams and cheeses, revealed it has overdelivered on its 2021 carbon labelling target by 20% with 120 million packs now covered, and has now set its sights on reaching a 500 million milestone by 2025 – helped by its new proprietary, peer reviewed carbon calculation tool that automates environmental product analysis.
Announcing this ambitious target coincides with the launch of its latest ESG report, which landed last week (25 May), and outlines its commitment to ‘help transform the food system’ and consistently improve its environmental, social and governance performance for a world where sustainable business practices are the only option.
In order to achieve its new lofty target, Upfield has invested in an independently designed in-house tool that will enable accelerated roll out of on-pack carbon labelling – a process that companies have found lengthy and laborious, until now. Upfield has named the tool ‘Better Than’ and it uses inputs based on the ingredients, production, transport, packaging and distribution of each product. It automates the rigorous process of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) which assesses a product’s total environmental footprint and is undertaken according to ISO Standards.
By automatically calculating the environmental impact of tested products, the time of assessment has plummeted from three months to thirty minutes, as well as delivering results at 10% of the cost compared to using third parties. Developed with Quantis, the ‘Better Than’ tool, an ISO compliant peer-reviewed tool that took nine months to develop in-house, covers over 20 markets and has already calculated for more than 30 projects as part of the pilot. As well as providing on-pack information for consumers, the tool will be able to connect to volume data to provide environmental impact calculations to customers, retailers and professional partners.
This is a major step for the plant-based food company, providing efficiency, and removing barriers to make the sustainable option the affordable option for people. Flora Plant, Lätte and Tulipán are among the brands that have implemented carbon labels on-pack, giving consumers, chefs and retailers the information they need to make sustainable food choices. The tool will now be rolled out across all Upfield brands across Europe and North America.
Upfield is calling on the wider food industry to introduce transparent, absolute carbon figures on pack. The time for action is now, as public sentiment continues to embrace environmental matters with 54% of respondents to a 2021 survey by environmental consultancy Carbon Trust saying they would be more likely to pick a product with carbon labels over a similar one without.
This is just another step in Upfield’s wider commitment to a better plant-based future. Last month, Upfield became the first major food company to publicly disclose its corporate methane footprint and called on the food sector to come clean about their methane emissions.
Sally Smith, Director of Sustainability & ESG, Upfield, said: “We are thrilled to have exceeded our 2021 milestone and even more so that we feel confident in setting an even more ambitious goal for 2025.
Calculating carbon footprints is intricate work and requires analysis across many indicators. It has taken time and investment, but we believe it is worth it, as we know that people want to make more sustainable choices and giving them the information to do that is essential.
“With our 2022 ESG report, we hope to reach growers, manufacturers, stakeholders and consumers and kick start a shift to the understanding that plant-based diets are more beneficial for the planet and for people alike, with evidence-backed research.”
Upfield worked with Quantis, an international Sustainability Consultancy specialised in Life Cycle Assessments, to establish its carbon footprint across products.