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Food and climate are linked - how we communicate the message to reduce the food’s carbon footprint!

Örebro

Detailed description of the Good Practice

As one part of the climate work of the Municipality of Örebro, the impact on the
climate and the environment caused by the food consumed within our operations and activities must be reduced. This represents a large and important part of this work, as a quarter of all the climate emissions can be linked to the consumption of food.


sustainable development
sustainable consumption
awareness raising

Objectives of the Good Practice

The political objectives state that, by the year 2020, our municipal operations and activities, as well as those of our municipal companies, will have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by half when compared with 2000. At the same time, the amount of wastage from meals will also reduce by half.

Participants of the Good Practice

Municipality of Örebro

Target group of the Good Practice

Municipality of Örebro

Funding of the Good Practice

Municipality of Örebro

More Details of the Good Practice

Since the climate plan was adopted in June 2010, it has been a powerful motivator in the form of policy objectives. Such political goals, good implementation and subsequent monitoring and feedback, are all prerequisites for the project to be successful. The political objectives state that, by the year 2020, our municipal operations and activities, as well as those of our municipal companies, will have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by half when compared with 2000. At the same time, the amount of wastage from meals will also reduce by half.
Computer programs with climate figures
Due to the fact that the entire food chain from farm to table produces emissions of greenhouse gases, there is no easy way to calculate the effects that any of the various products have on the climate. A computer program that calculates nutritional value is being used today as a planning tool for meals. This program will also be linked to the climate figures in the future, meaning that for each meal it will be possible to see the effect that everything on the plate has had on the climate.
Different products inflict different levels of damage on the environment.
This tool will give us the opportunity to be able to remove from the menu, as early as the planning stages, those food items that have the greatest impact on the climate. Coupled with statistics regarding the purchasing details of the municipality’s various operations, a reasonable assessment of the climate emissions can be made and improve the food.
Educational material with good examples
In order to communicate ideas and goals about the effects that the food has on the climate, the Climate Office and our dietary organisation have produced some educational material entitled “Smarter Food”, which explains the main ideas and how they can be realised. Experiences from the municipal kitchens are interspersed with examples of what would make a better choice for the climate. The message to any affected dietary and nutritional organisations, and indeed other operations, is that there are goals to be achieved. Furthermore, each and every activity contributes in its own way, stemming from the current level. Positive reinforcement and follow-up represent both the carrot and the stick.

Visible results
Through the concept of “Smarter Food” on the menu, the municipality of Örebro can now take a holistic approach. The food being cooked and served in the municipality should be tasty and nutritious, but it should also inflict as little damage on the climate as possible. Visible results of the successful efforts regarding information and communication are an increase in the purchases of organic products, a massive investment in education and occupational training for the staff, and not least an amazing level of commitment from everybody involved.

Available files

Contact details

Marie Janson,
Climate Office,
Municipality of Örebro

Data sources and references

Baltic Cities Environmental Bulletin 2/2011