Supermarket chain Colruyt has launched Eco-Score, a rating system to indicate the environmental impact of any given foodstuff on the shelves.
The system echoes the more widespread Nutri-Score, which shows at a glance the nutritional value of the product.
Similarly, Eco-Score consists of a colour and a letter code, as well as a barcode that can be scanned by the Eco-Score app for fuller information.
“People want simple, relevant information. They want to go further than how healthy a product is and what nutritional value it has,” said Stefan Goethaert, director at Colruyt responsible for the project.
For the initial launch, Colruyt has tagged 2,500 of its own-brand products and released the app. The plan is for products from other manufacturers to adopt the label, and include it on their own products by the end of the year.
The Eco-Score is awarded on the basis of a number of environmental criteria, including carbon footprint, water and land use, effect on climate, air pollution and so on. The ratings run from A – for products with the lowest environmental impact – to E for the higher. Colour codings go from dark green through light green, yellow and orange to red for the E grade.
“The Eco-Score goes much further than just CO2 emissions or the carbon footprint,” said Goethaert. “The score also takes into account pros and cons, such as transport, recyclability and certification.”
The development of the system has had the effect of forcing Colruyt to up its own game.
“To measure the environmental impact, you have to map the entire chain. That is a challenging assignment, but thanks to these analyses we can identify the hotspots that we ultimately need to improve and on which we will therefore also fully focus.”
The Eco-Score can be read from Colruyt products using the SmartWithFood app, available from the App Store and Google Play.