Organic Footprint Project

Publication of the full booklet and the new environmental indicators.

January 9, 2018

Organic Footprint Project image

The idea: a sustainability standard for restaurants

1/3 of greenhouse gases originate from the production and consumption of food. Currently, consensus on methodology and underlying assumptions of carbon footprint-calculations on organically produced foods is lacking.

Life cycle assessments do not necessarily capture the full environmental impact. Which additional factors other than carbon emissions should be considered in sustainability standards for meals? And how can this be easily adapted in restaurants and by individuals?

Based on these leading questions we focused on the following results:

Project goals

Identification of the most important factors and assumptions influencing the climate.

Environmental impact of organic and conventional foods.

Extension of our CO2-database with improved calculations for organic ingredients.

Identification of climate and environmentally relevant regulations of different organic standards and labels.

Quantification of the potential climate and environmental impacts of different organic standards and labels using the LCA method.

Develop practical recommendations and instruments for restaurants and the general public.

Adaptation and improvement of analysis, methodology and developed applications by having stakeholder reviews and organizing discussion groups and exchange workshops.

The organic footprint project

The organic footprint project invited to create a common ground for climate action by summarizing current knowledge on the climate and environmental impacts of conventional and organic production.

As a consequence, and a result of the project, Eaternity provides CO2 values for organic and conventional production. Further, Eaternity included additional indicators for water scarcity, tropical deforestation and animal welfare into the Eaternity App to support the overall goal of reducing the food related climate impact.

Together with our scientific partners at ZHAW and Quantis we investigated how the climate and environmental impacts of organic food differs from conventional food. At the Organic Footprint Workshop 2016 held in Zürich we discussed with scientists, chefs, consumers and farmers the state of the knowledge in sciences and which indicators are crucial to assess environmental sustainability of food.

Together we formulated a message that combines the goals of climate friendly and organic agriculture, giving consumers and restaurants the opportunity to contribute to a sustainable future. We summarized the common ground of available knowledge that is directly applicable to give consumers a choice. And establish clear and understandable recommendations for restaurants that are supported by all participants.

Based on the discussions and the scientific work conducted within this project we selected this core set of indicators. These indicators together with the health indicators were tested against data from real restaurant, the conclusion was: “We are out of balance!”. Learn more about the Restaurant Analysis.

All main findings and conclusions are summarized in the Organic Fact Sheet and are broadly supported by experts and stakeholders.

All results of the project were put into practice at the impuls event “Smart Chefs”. Chefs presented delicious appetizers and showed that tasty meals can be healthy and sustainable at the same time.

Project Report

20 Dec 2017 – Smart Chefs Restaurant Analysis


The results are in - we are out of balance.


Wow, I never knew that eating balanced was such a challenge! I just assumed that eating sustainable was the greater one. Only around 6% of all meals served in restaurants that we analyzed fulfilled the criteria of having a good energy content and the right proportional distribution of protein, fat and starch. Off course, this is only one perspective of judging the healthiness of a meal, but it is a pretty basic one. Moreover, it is commonly recommended and applied by health and food professionals. Our findings are in line with the Swiss menuCH study which showed that most Swiss eat unbalanced, eating especially too much meat and fat.

Read the full update.

17 Dec 2017 – Smart Chefs Research Report


Organic and Health Research Results - Full Booklet Publication


In our report „Smart Chefs: health, climate and sustainability“ we summarize the findings on the conflicts and synergies between different environmental and health indicators. In short, reducing the carbon footprint of our diet also reduces the impact of important other environmental indicators, but potential conflicts exist with animal welfare, tropical deforestation and water scarcity.

Read the full update.

04 Oct 2017 – Impulsevent Smart Chefs


Ein kulinarischer Spielplatz für Entdecker


Am 28. September 2017 haben wir im Rahmen einer interaktiven Impuls-Veranstaltung über unsere neuesten Erkenntnisse in den Bereichen Klimaschutz, Gesundheit und umweltfreundliche Landwirtschaft informiert. Am Event konnten wir unsere 2 grössten Lieben mit euch teilen. Was uns verbindet bei Eaternity ist das gute Essen und die stichhaltigen Daten. Zwei Welten lassen wir zusammenkommen die eigentlich nicht getrennt sein sollten: die Wissenschaft und die Gastronomie.

Read the full update.

12 Jun 2017 – Organic Footprint Update


The Conflicts between Organic Farming and the Environment.


Are organic food choices good for the environment? For the past two years Eaternity took a closer look and we found: It’s trickier than one might think. Here’s an update on our ongoing research.

Read the full update.

12 Oct 2015 – Migros Engagement Development Fund


Is a healthy, organic diet also good for the Earth’s climate?


The CO₂ calculator of the Zurich start-up Eaternity determines the ecological footprint of over 5000 Swiss meals. In future, its evaluation will also include the effect of an organic and healthy diet. A large-scale project financed by the Engagement Migros development fund that is backed by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) and other partners is making this expansion possible. It will provide a ground-breaking standard for especially healthy and sustainable meals.

Read the full update.

Support

We express our deepest gratitude to the leading scientists in our advisory board that supported us throughout the project with valuable inputs and reviews.

We thank Migros Engagement Fund for funding the Organic Footprint project.

Organic Footprint Project: 1.5.2015-31.10.2017
Project organization: Isabel O'Connor, Eaternity – ioconnor@eaternity.ch | +41 76 479 62 47
Deputy: Judith Ellens, Eaternity – jellens@eaternity.ch
Feldeggstrasse 4, 8008 Zürich
Scientific partner: Deborah Scharfy, Institut für Umwelt und Natürliche Ressourcen IUNR, ZHAW Wädenswil – scaf@zhaw.ch
Raphaël Thierrin, Quantis, Zürich raphael.thierrin@quantis-intl.com
Made possible by: Engagement Migros development fund