The nutritional footprint – integrated methodology using environmental and health indicators to indicate potential for absolute reduction of natural resource use in the field of food and nutrition

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Researchers

Research units

  • Wuppertal Institute for Climate
  • St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics (ITMO)
  • D-mat Ltd.
  • Folkwang University of Arts

Abstract

The field of nutrition will face numerous challenges in coming decades; these arise from changing lifestyles and global consumption patterns accompanied by a high use of resources. Against this background, this paper presents a newly designed tool to decrease the effect on nutrition, the so-called Nutritional Footprint. The tool is based on implementing the concept of a sustainable diet in decision-making processes, and supporting a resource-light society. The concept integrates four indicators in each of the two nutrition-related fields of health and environment, and condenses them into an easily communicable result, which limits its results to one effect level. Applied to eight lunch meals, the methodology and its calculations procedures are presented in detail. The results underline the general scientific view of food products; animal-protein based meals are more relevant considering their health and environmental effects. The concept seems useful for consumers to evaluate their own choices, and companies to expand their internal data, their benchmarking processes, or their external communication performance. Methodological shortcomings and the interpretation of results are discussed, and the conclusion shows the tools’ potential for shaping transition processes, and for the reduction of natural resource use by supporting food suppliers’ and consumers’ decisions and choice.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-170
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume132
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Environmental indicators, Health indicators, Nutritional footprint, Resource productivity, Sustainable food

ID: 9017312