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The average carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions of a UK meal are estimated to be 1.7kg – this exceeds the Paris Agreement’s target of <0.5kg per meal by more than three times!

Many hospitality businesses are increasingly aware of their environmental impact and are committed to reducing their carbon footprint. Adding carbon labels to your menu is one way to support the fight against climate change.

Benefits of Carbon Labelling

1. Educate your teams and customers

By providing information about the carbon emissions associated with each dish, companies can raise awareness about the climate impact of food production and consumption. Carbon labels guide customers’ food choices and encourage behavioural changes. And the catering team can use this as a tool to help them adjust their recipes to lower carbon dishes – both are crucial for reducing CO2 levels.

2. Meet consumer demand

There is growing consumer demand for transparent and eco-friendly dining options. Customers are becoming more conscious about their carbon footprint and want to make informed choices regarding their food.

3. Support corporate social responsibility

Adding carbon labels to your menus can demonstrate your organisation’s environmental responsibility and promote sustainable practices within the industry.

4. Gain a competitive edge

With the rising interest in sustainable practices, incorporating carbon labels can help catering and hospitality businesses differentiate themselves from competitors and attract new environmentally conscious consumers.

What is a Co2e value (carbon dioxide equivalent)

CO2e stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. It is a metric that measures and expresses the global warming potential of different greenhouse gases relative to carbon dioxide (CO2). Since various greenhouse gases have different heat-trapping abilities and lifetimes in the atmosphere, expressing their impact on CO2e allows for a standardised comparison.

In food service, CO2e is a way to measure how much greenhouse gas is released during the production, transportation, and disposal of different types of foods. CO2e measurement identifies which foods have the most significant environmental impact and where we should concentrate our efforts to support sustainable food production and consumption.

Net Zero 2050

The net-zero targets for CO2e emissions are becoming increasingly important as the world seeks to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by around 2050.

To achieve a net zero target for CO2e emissions, an average person needs to reduce their carbon footprint to around 2-3 kg CO2e per day.

This can be accomplished by implementing actions such as decreasing energy consumption, opting for low-carbon transportation methods, adopting a predominantly plant-based diet, and actively reducing waste. 

Data source

To calculate the CO2e values for specific food types, our system Pi uses data provided by the World Resources Institute and the Poore & Nemecek (2018) study published in the journal Science which is the largest meta-analysis of food systems to date.

Pi’s carbon footprint labels are indicative and display meals with low, medium, and high carbon emissions to help you and your customers make more informed decisions. Let’s work together to create a more sustainable future for our planet, one meal at a time!

Our solution

Our eProcurement system can automatically calculate an indicative CO2e for each dish. Pi provides easy identification labels for meals ranging from very low to very high carbon emissions to help you and your customers make more informed decisions.

The CO2e labels are included on your recipe specification sheets alongside costing, allergens, nutrition and calorie information, which you can easily share as PDF or printed versions with your customers.

Plus, our ‘The Food Checker’ online tool helps you to easily share all these details with your customers via QR code on their smartphones!

Let’s work together to create a more sustainable future for our planet, one meal at a time! If you want to learn more about carbon labels – contact us for a chat and demo at

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