CarbonOne is committed to providing Canadian Food and Beverage companies with trusted Carbon Intelligence.
Our Carbon Footprints are rooted in proven science, follow THE global methodological standard for product-level carbon accounting, aligns with market best practices and use high-quality carbon emission factors specific to Canada and for each individual product.
With CarbonOne, you have confidence knowing the carbon footprint of your food and beverage product will withstand scrutiny.
What is the Carbon Footprint (CF) of a food and beverage product?
The Carbon Footprint (CF) of a product represents the sum of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) emitted and removed throughout its lifecycle, expressed as CO2 equivalents (CO2e).
Did you know?
When measuring a Carbon Footprint, there are actually 7 types of GHGs that are measured: Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane(CH4), Nitrous Oxide (N20), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC’s aka Refridgerents), Perfluorocarbons (PFC’s), Sulfur Hexaflouride (SF6) and Ammonia (NH3).
Each of these GHGs has a different capability to trap heat in the atmosphere and is benchmarked against carbon dioxide. This benchmark is known as a GHG's Global Warming Potential (GWP). For example, Methane has 28 times greater capability to trap heat than carbon dioxide and therefore has a GWP of 28*. Each GHG emitted and removed along a product’s life cycle is measured and converted into carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). For example, 2 tonnes of methane equals 56 tonnes of CO2e.
*IPCC Fifth Assessment Report
A Carbon Label expresses the Carbon Footprint of a product per a standardized unit (for food it is expressed per kg) and is placed directly on the product package. Carbon Labels are becoming an increasingly common way for companies to communicate the climate performance of products to consumers, retailers and other stakeholders.
What is a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)?
The life cycle of products represents its “story” across the value chain from growing of ingredients and extraction of raw materials, shipping those ingredients and materials to a processing facility (s), processing or manufacturing into a final product (including packaging), distributing to retail, storage while at retail, use of the product and finally, the impacts at end of life (disposal of product and packaging).
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a scientific method for quantifying the environmental impacts that occur across the life cycle of a product.
Depending on the scope of the study, one or more life cycle stages may be excluded from a product’s lifecycle. In accordance with the latest international standard for product carbon footprints calculated using LCA methodology, the life cycle of food and beverage products is defined as “cradle-to-manufacturing gate”. However, when reporting directly to consumers it has become a market best practice to include distribution of finished product to the store shelf which is known as “cradle-to-shelf".
Did you know?
There are different types of LCA's.
A full LCA quantifies multiple environmental impacts such as climate change (greenhouse gas emissions), eutrophication of water, ozone depletion potential etc. for every life cycle stage.
Targeted (or single-issue) LCA's quantify one specific environmental impact such as Climate Change which is known as a Carbon LCA. Measuring the Carbon Footprint of a product requires completing a Carbon LCA – this measures all the GHGs emitted and removed across the product's life cycle, converts it to CO2e as noted above and sums everything to produce the Carbon Footprint of a Product.
All reputable LCA's should be completed by a qualified professional according to a specific protocol. For product level carbon LCA’s, ISO 14067 and the GHG Protocol Product Standard have long been the recognized protocols to follow. Recently, the PACT Pathfinder Framework was introduced which aligns with these standards to provide an overarching methodology that enables a more consistent calculation of product carbon footprints globally.
What is an LCA Methodology?
There are a number of variables to consider when completing an LCA such as what Life Cycle stages to include, what sources of emissions to include from each life cycle stage and how to allocate carbon emissions of an entire processing facility to one product.
An LCA Methodology sets how each of these variables are treated when following a specified LCA protocol.
Did you know?
Multiple methodologies can result from following the same Protocol depending on how each variable is treated. This creates inconsistencies in how product carbon footprints are calculated because different methodologies produce different numbers (i.e when one includes a particular life cycle stage and the other doesn’t). This leads to the erosion of trust in the marketplace.
Fortunately, the world is making progress with harmonizing methodologies for product level carbon accounting. Recently, the World Business Council For Sustainable Development (WBCSD) published a global methodological standard for product-level carbon accounting known as the PACT Pathfinder Framework. This enables all product carbon footprints across the globe to be calculated the same way for Scope 3 reporting purposes. CarbonOne welcomes this new standard and we believe it to be a foundational step forward in advancing climate transparency.
CarbonOne’s Life Cycle Assessment Methodology for calculating Carbon Footprints of food and beverage products meets all the requirements of ISO 14067, GHG Protocol Product Standard as well as the overarching PACT Pathfinder Framework for Product Carbon Footprints (PCF’s) AND aligns with market best practices for reporting directly to consumers.Click here for our methodology
What are Carbon Emission Factors?
Carbon Emission Factors represent the amount of CO2e emitted or removed from the atmosphere for each specific activity across the products’ life cycle (for example, the amount of CO2e emitted or removed from growing a specific ingredient or from shipping a final product to a retailer).
Did you know?
Data used for Carbon Emission Factors is critically important to the accuracy of a product’s Carbon Footprint. Carbon Emission Factors are unique to each ingredient, packaging material and life cycle activity based on multiple parameters. The more a Carbon Emission Factor represents the true CO2e emitted for a specific activity, the more accurate the Carbon Footprint. Unfortunately, obtaining the proper emissions factors for a given product can be challenging and far too often leads to the use of generic or average data. The use of poor-quality data can significantly misrepresent the Carbon Footprint of a Product.
CarbonOne uses high quality emission factor data, specifically curated for Canadian Food & Beverage companies and thoroughly vetted by our in house scientists.
Our Data Quality Management System ensures all data is properly managed, documented and updated to further ensure data quality and produce product CarbonFootprints with a high degree of accuracy.