Climate Friendly Attribute Methodology

An overview of HowGood's Climate Friendly attribute methodology, for use in external communications.

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

What does the Climate Friendly attribute measure?

HowGood’s Climate Friendly attribute recognizes food products with low greenhouse gas emissions. HowGood assesses carbon footprint for products across the food system. Products that achieve the Climate Friendly attribute have Cradle-to-Gate greenhouse gas emissions that are lower than 70% of all products assessed by HowGood. The threshold for a product to achieve the attribute is 1.46 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent, per kilogram of product (kg CO2e / kg). This threshold will be updated on an annual basis in line with the latest research on GHG emissions in the food system.

The assessment for the Climate Friendly attribute takes into account GHG emissions from Cradle-to-Gate. This includes all inputs required for agricultural production, land use change, farm to processing transportation, ingredient processing, processing to manufacturing transportation, and manufacturing. For more information on these stages of the Carbon Life Cycle, read our Carbon Life Cycle methodology.

How long does a product qualify for the Climate Friendly attribute?

We suggest that you create product reports for products that qualify for Climate Friendly. This will provide you with a time-stamped report, with the accompanying methodology that was used to assess your product at the time that it qualified. The underlying research and methodology is updated on an ongoing basis, and therefore communication of the claims should include the validation date.

What data inputs are required for a product to qualify for the Climate Friendly attribute?

The following data fields are required in order for a product to be assessed for the Climate Friendly attribute:

  • Ingredient name

  • Manufacturing type (choose the closest category)

  • Manufacturing location

The following data fields are preferred in order for HowGood to provide a more accurate assessment of a product’s qualification for the attribute:

  • Ingredient weight / inclusion percentage

  • Ingredient processing location

  • Crop sourcing location

  • Certifications and standards, where applicable

What does the Climate Friendly attribute mean for consumers?

The Climate Friendly attribute provides consumers with a clear indicator of how sustainable a product is with respect to carbon emissions. It’s easy-to-digest and guides consumers toward more sustainable purchases. The Climate Friendly attribute empowers shoppers to make decisions that are in line with their values and preferences. By purchasing Climate Friendly products, consumers can take a step toward reducing their carbon footprint.

What is HowGood’s research methodology for calculating product carbon footprint?

HowGood’s methodology for calculating GHG emissions is developed in accordance with the GHG Protocol.

  1. Data Collection: HowGood draws on a diverse collection of data sources, including peer reviewed journal articles to calculate the CO2e values for ingredients. For each data source, HowGood performs a data certainty assessment based on the age and comprehensiveness of the findings. This process is completed for every ingredient on which there is accurate and verifiable data.

  2. Ingredient Mapping: Once the data is collected and analyzed, HowGood conducts a proprietary process of mapping each ingredient to its source crop, animal or material. Using global import/export data and HowGood industry partnerships, HowGood then maps each source crop to its corresponding geographic location to account for the specific on-the-ground practices, impacts, and risks in each locale.

  3. Data Aggregation: HowGood, to date, has mapped nearly every ingredient, chemical and material (33,000 in total) in the CPG industry, including where and how it is produced. This mapping is used to aggregate data across geographic regions or ingredient categories and develop industry-average impact profiles for CO2e across every ingredient.

Based on the ingredient mapping process, HowGood assigns a default location and corresponding industry-average profile for every ingredient in a product. If deeper levels of data granularity are available (from a specific supplier, industry partner, or publication), these specifics are applied.

What data sources does HowGood use to assess GHG emissions?

HowGood draws on a diverse collection of data sources, including peer reviewed journal articles to calculate the CO2e values for ingredients. For crops and locations where no current data exists, HowGood uses supplementary studies and relevant LCAs from proxy locations where environmental conditions and farming methods are deemed as similar. Check out our GHG Emissions article for a full list of data sources.

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