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    Planet-score: Real sustainability labeling instead of greenwashing


    The European Commission wants to create a uniform framework for the sustainability labeling of food by 2024. In the future, consumers should be able to easily understand the environmental impact caused by the production of their food. With the Planet-score, French scientists, environmental and consumer protection associations have presented a comprehensive yet consumer-friendly sustainability label. We explain the Planet-score and show why consumers favor it.

    What is the Planet-score?

    The Planet-score is an ecological sustainability label that provides information about the environmental impact of food. The Planet-score provides an overall score (from scale A to E). For example, a food rated with a green A has a better environmental performance than a food rated with a yellow C. But the Planet-score provides even more information: It additionally shows consumers the extent to which the food was produced through the use of pesticides and the impact on biodiversity and the climate. In the case of animal-based foods, an animal welfare rating is also added.

    The Planet-score is an initiative of 16 French consumer protection and environmental associations. It was developed by the French research institute for organic agriculture and food ITAB (Institut de l'agriculture et de l'alimentation biologiques) together with SAYARI, a consultancy specializing in life cycle assessments and eco-design, and VERY GOOD FUTURE, a network for ecological and social change.

    How does the Planet-score evaluation work?

    The Planet-score uses as its basis data from the French Agribalyse database, which is a PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) based LCA database. PEF is a life cycle analysis (LCA) that looks at the potential environmental impacts and energy footprint of products throughout their life cycle.  

    However, the PEF methodology is incomplete and does not fully represent the eco-balance, especially at the agri-food system level. Therefore, it is necessary to complement the LCA data with additional indicators to provide consumers* with transparent information about all positive and negative impacts of food production.

    The Plane-score corrects the LCA and supplements missing indicators (extended life cycle analysis), thus providing a more meaningful and complete representation of environmental impacts.

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    Why does the EU Commission want a uniform sustainability label for food?

    With the "Farm to Fork" strategy, the EU Commission wants to make the European food system healthier and more sustainable along the entire value chain. The plan includes numerous measures and targets to promote greener food production from production, through processing, to sale. For example, the EU Commission wants to promote sustainable practices in production, reduce food losses and combat food fraud.

    Another key objective: The EU Commission also wants to protect consumers with the "Farm to Fork" strategy. Consumers should be able to decide in favor of sustainable nutrition. This requires transparent and valid labeling on food packaging.

    Until now, companies have been able to design their own sustainability labels for products, which, in the opinion of the EU Commission, tend to serve product marketing purposes, say little about the actual environmental impact of the product, and can therefore even mislead consumers. That is why the EU Commission has set out to take action against misleading "green claims" in food and consumer goods. One answer is to create a uniform framework in the European Union to harmonize product claims. By 2024, the EU Commission wants to introduce a harmonized framework for sustainable food labeling.

    Why is there a need for environmental sustainability labeling like the Planet-score at all?

    The EU Commission's initiative for a sustainability label for food products goes back to a study from 2020. This study showed that more than half of EU citizens would like to see information on the environmental impact of their food.

    In Germany, too, 89 percent of consumers would like to see easily understandable sustainability labeling, according to a representative survey conducted by forsa on behalf of the Federation of German Consumer Organizations in 2021.

    The Planet-score has apparently already proven its worth in French consumer surveys. A representative survey conducted in June 2021 shows a very high level of acceptance of the Planet-score and an interest on the part of consumers to include it in their purchasing decisions. According to the survey, around 80 percent of (French) consumers want a detailed score. Among five proposed scores, a clear majority of 48 percent favored the Planet-score, compared to 18 percent for La Note Global and only 8 percent for the Eco score. The Planet-score thus appears to reflect consumer will.

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    Your contact:

    Ulrike Schaal

    Sustainability, Laboratory Recognition
    +49 (0)30 / 847 12 24-46

    Hans Kaufmann

    Head of Communication & Spokesperson
    +49 (0) 30 / 847 12 24-51

    Mobil: +49 (0) 160 / 923 378 11