Reduction of carbon footprint through Climate tax on foods

In a nutshell

The tool explains how an internal costing system can be used to encourage procurement of foods with reduced carbon footprint. The tool builds on data about carbon emissions provided by a recognised database and strong collaboration between supplier (wholesaler) and procurement. The full effect of the tool comes when all food items are procured from one supplier. This tool works best in organisations with large-scale kitchens.

Necessary Steps

  1. Make a political/strategic decision about the reduction of carborn emission from purchased foods. Find a relevant and validated database on carbon emissions from foods. Analyse the carbon footprint of the kitchen and find an adequate reduction potential without compromising nutritional goals. The municipality supports kitchen staffs with education to facilitate cooking with climate-friendly food items.
  2. The procurement organisation decides on a “budget” for carbon emissions (i.e., internal tax/cost) and the types of food items to bear the added costs.
  3. Decide what the internal taxes should be used for (education, inspiration, returned to the budget after a year or something else)
  4. The supplier (wholesaler) adds the extra cost for carbon emissions to the prices on the web-shop. Prices are available to the procurer in real-time.
  5. Public kitchens procure food items from the wholesaler as usual and pay the added costs.
  6. The municipality re-claims the added costs from the supplier.
  7. It is important to communicate to public kitchens about the climate strategy of the municipality. This inspires kitchens to think about climate-friendly meals.
  8. It is important to inform the citizens about the actions taken in order to support the kitchens in their efforts to make more climate friendly meals

More Issues To Consider

  • The tool must be combined with education on green meals to help kitchen professionals use more climate-friendly food items. Education could be recipes, courses, networking, field trips and other inspiration.
  • The tool was tried by Aarhus Municipality (Denmark). After 3 months, the reduction in carbon emissions from the items bearing the added costs was reported at 30% and, the procurement of beef had declined by 40%. No data on the long-term effect yet.

Further Information

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