Do you know that the food we eat is responsible for one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions? More people each year are changing their diet to a diet that is more sustainable and better for the planet. With this knowledge in mind, more companies like Oatly, are starting to put carbon labels on their products. These labels allow consumers to see the true carbon impact of their food, and products.

Carbon labeling allows consumers to understand the impact they have on the environment every time they purchase or consume a product. The label can include the carbon impact of the item (usually expressed in kg CO2e) or a symbol indicating if the product has a “low”, “medium”, or “high” environmental impact for easy accessibility. 

The Environmental Center has decided to pilot a “Carbon Labeling Program” at the Alferd Packer Grill in the University Memorial Center. The program will operate through March. 

Throughout March, the menus at each station in Alferd Packer Grill will display a carbon label next to their respective dish or ingredient. These labels will be colored either red, yellow, or green, indicating the environmental impact of the ingredient or dish. Red indicates that the dish or ingredient has a high environmental impact, yellow indicates a medium environmental impact, and green indicates a low environmental impact. 

Carbon labeling system. graphics of planets that are red, yellow, and green

The overall goal is twofold- one is to see how carbon labeling influences students’ food choices and whether or not the labeling could be impactful across the entire campus in the future and the second goal is to obtain information to be sent to CU’s culinary teams on which plant-based meals students want to eat on campus. 

Come find us tabling at the Alferd Packer grill so you can take our survey to tell us what you think about carbon labels at CU and your preferred plant-based meals!