Eco-Score

What is the environmental impact of this product?

Jemima Snow avatar
Written by Jemima Snow
Updated over a week ago

What is Eco-Score?

The Eco-Score is a European scoring system that awards grades to food products on a scale of A to E. The score summarizes 16 environmental impacts based on life cycle analysis and adds or deducts points for five additional environmental indicators related to standards and certifications, transport, environmental policy, endangered species, and packaging. Food products that receive an A grade are considered very low impact. Food products that receive an E grade are considered to have a very high environmental impact.

In order to display the Eco-Score on a product label, it must first be registered and approved by the consortium.


How does Eco-Score relate to agriculture, product development, and the food system?

An increasing number of consumers are demanding transparency when it comes to their food products, especially regarding environmental impact. The Eco-Score provides this information in a highly accessible format, which easily allows consumers to make better-informed purchasing decisions and prioritize products that score well for environmental impact.


What are the biggest contributors to high Eco-Score impact?

The 16 indicators are weighted according to the importance of the environmental issues they represent. Products that receive the unfavorable Eco-Scores are ones that contribute to the most heavily weighted indicators. Those indicators are:

  • Climate change (CO2)

  • Fine particle air pollution

  • Depletion of water resources

  • Depletion of energy resources

  • Land use

  • Depletion of mineral resources


How do we measure Eco-Score impact?

For each product category, a unique score is calculated from the 16 impact indicators and from five additional complementary indicators. It is expressed in points per 100g of finished product.

An ingredient or product is evaluated based on the contributions it makes to the following indicators based on life cycle analysis:

Climate change (CO2 equivalent)

Corresponds to the modification of the climate, affecting the global ecosystem

Fine particle pollution in the air

Fine particles enter organisms, especially through the lungs. They have an effect on human health.

Ozone layer depletion

The ozone layer is located at high altitude in the atmosphere, it protects against solar ultraviolet rays. Its depletion increases the exposure of all living beings to these negative radiations (carcinogens in particular).

Photochemical ozone formation

Corresponds to a degradation of air quality, mainly via the formation of low-level fog called "smog". It has harmful consequences on health.

Acidification

Results from chemical emissions in the atmosphere which are redeposited in ecosystems. This problem is known in particular through the phenomenon of acid rain.

Ionizing radiation

Corresponds to the effects of radioactivity. This impact corresponds to the radioactive waste resulting from the production of nuclear electricity.

Depletion of water resources

Corresponds to the consumption of water and its depletion in certain regions. This category takes into account the scarcity (it has more impact to consume a liter of water in Morocco than in Brittany).

Marine eutrophication

Corresponds to an excessive enrichment of natural environments in nutrients, which leads to proliferation and asphyxiation (dead zone). It is this phenomenon which is at the origin of green algae.

Freshwater eutrophication

Corresponds to an excessive enrichment of natural environments in nutrients, which leads to proliferation and asphyxiation (dead zone). It is this phenomenon which is at the origin of green algae. It can be found in rivers and lakes as well.

Terrestrial eutrophication

As in water, terrestrial eutrophication corresponds to an excessive enrichment of the environment, in nitrogen in particular, leading to an imbalance and impoverishment of the ecosystem. This mainly concerns agricultural soils.

Land use

Land is a finite resource, which is divided between "natural" (forest), productive (agriculture) and urban environments. Land use and habitats largely determine biodiversity. This category therefore reflects the impact of an activity on land degradation, with reference to the “natural state”.

Depletion of energy resources

Corresponds to the depletion of non-renewable energy resources: coal, gas, oil, uranium, etc.

Depletion of mineral resources

Corresponds to the depletion of non-renewable mineral resources: copper, potash, rare earths, sand, etc.

Toxicities (3 types)

Freshwater ecotoxicity, Carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic human toxicity. Indicators of toxicity via environmental contamination. These indicators are still not very robust at present.

Additionally, it takes into account five complementary indicators:

Production system

Considers the environmental benefits linked to labels, standards, and certifications (i.e. organic)

Local sourcing

Calculates a score for the transportation of raw materials in order to promote local supply

Environmental policy

Its objective is to report on the policy of the producing country in terms of the environment (discharge standards, electricity production, biodiversity, etc.). It is established on the basis of the work of the Environmental Performance Index (EPI)

Circularity of the pack

The packaging score consists of two parts:

  • an Upstream score evaluating the origin of the raw materials used

  • a Downstream score evaluating the different end-of-life scenarios (i.e. recyclability of the packaging)

Threatened species

Presence of an ingredient that strongly threatens a species' survival, with special attention to sea life


What are the data requirements?

In order to see the Eco-score for your products, the following data inputs are needed:

  • Ingredients

  • Ingredient inclusion percentages

  • Agribalyze category

  • Packaging details


Key Data Sources

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