Ahead of a European Commission proposal on sustainable food labelling due in 2024, some
governments and private operators are increasingly developing ‘scoring’ systems (inspired
from those used in the nutrition labelling area) to inform consumers about the impacts of
their food choices, especially on the environment.
There are significant methodological challenges in measuring the environmental impacts
of food products. The Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) method promoted by the
European Commission, in its current form, appears ill-suited to assess the environmental
performance of agri-food products. Importantly, some of the methodological choices
behind the development of environmental labelling implicitly favour certain visions of the
food system. As such, they must be openly debated.