Sustainability has been a big buzzword in the last few years. The organic food movement has been preaching sustainable farming practices for over 50 years. And with local food growing in popularity over the past several years, more people are interested to know how far their food has traveled to reach the supermarket.
According to Terry Tamminen, who advises world leaders on design and implementation of climate-change solutions, “sustainability labels” are coming to supermarkets. In an interview with FastCompany magazine, he provided some insight into sustainability trends:
The labels will break down into a few categories, with the first and most obvious being a carbon footprint. Secondly, retailers will always want a whole sustainability index measuring recycled content, what materials are used, how sustainable are the raw materials etc. Retailers like Wal-Mart are already devising these metrics – I’ve been working very closely with them on this. A third label is for food miles traveled- you’re already seeing Tesco doing this. This leaves it to customers to decide whether, all things being equal, they really want to buy the pound of lamb from New Zealand when they could buy one from Idaho.
What you need to know:
This is a great idea. But consumers are already so confused by food labels…
Now even more dilemmas. Organic from California, or conventional from a nearby farm. Did it fly or was it trucked? Does it need to be kept in a freezer?
It will be interesting to see how this additional piece of information serves consumers, and more importantly how it will (hopefully) help change wasteful practices of the global food industry.