IGD has published a set of recommendations to ensure a consistent approach to environmental labelling of food items, following two years of extensive research and consultations with government, industry, technical experts, the third sector and academia.
The recommendations have been delivered to the UK's Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
IGD noted that the recommendations are a result of extensive consumer research and consultation, following an initial call to action from the food industry for an environmental labelling scheme that enables consistency, meets environmental ambitions and cuts through the confusion of multiple eco-labels available.
Sarah Bradbury, CEO of IGD stated, “More than two years ago, we convened a steering group of 15 members from industry and other stakeholders, to build a consistent, collaborative set of recommendations on environmental labelling.
“We also convened a wider consult group of more than 90 organisations across various sectors and worked with expert technical and consumer research consultancies to shape our work.”
The recommendations provided by IGD for an environmental label are wide-ranging and consider a product’s water, land and climate impact in one easy-to-read, colour-banded score.
Eight in 10 (81%) think it is a good idea and seven in 10 (69%) believe it will help them make more environmentally friendly choices.
Bradbury stated, “Our recommendations are that any eco-label for food used in the UK should be inclusive for shoppers, scalable for businesses, pragmatic and affordable, resulting in significant positive change that both reduces environmental impacts and costs for industry.”
In 2022, the UK government acknowledged the need to help shoppers and businesses make more sustainable choices when it announced it would mandate a methodology to be used by ‘any label producer or manufacturer who wants to make environmental claims about their products.’
IGD adopted a science-led approach for the recommendations delivered to DEFRA, including suggestions on consistent data, method and governance.
In the longer term, these recommendations will also allow the industry to reduce the environmental impact of supply chains and help make informed decisions around sourcing.
Sarah Bradbury added, “Convening our industry in the way we have to deliver these recommendations is a big step forward towards a consistent approach for environment labelling for the UK food industry, indicating the extent to which our industry has an appetite to collaborate, engage and drive positive change on this topic.”