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Could environmentally labelling our food be used to reduce the effects of climate change and encourage us to eat more sustainable food?
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Since 2013, there has been “traffic light” labelling system on food packaging to help consumers understand the nutritious value of their food. There has been suggestions of a similar labelling system so that consumers can understand the environmental impact of their food, for example how far the food has travelled to reach the shelves of their local supermarket. Tesco did try this in 2007 however stopped five years later as it required huge amounts of research into every product and therefore large investments of time and money. 

Having said that, this method of raising awareness may become extremely useful in the future as global population grows and unsustainable food habits worsen environmental impacts. 


Climate Change: Answers to Your Most Asked Questions” BBC News (2019)

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Studies have shown that existing labelling schemes which emphasise only some environmentally relevant factors, such as whether a product is organic, or if it is locally produced, or has been certified by the Rainforest Alliance, etc. can be contradictory and may result in consumer confusion and limit the use of such labels. Instead, if labelling provides information about a product’s overall environmental impact, it will better influence a consumer's behaviour.


Grunert KG, Hieke S and Wills J, “Sustainability Labels on Food Products: Consumer Motivation, Understanding and Use” (2014) 44 Food Policy 177

Vlaeminck P, Jiang T and Vranken L, “Food Labeling and Eco-Friendly Consumption: Experimental Evidence from a Belgian Supermarket” (2014) 108 Ecological Economics 180

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