Why calculate a Climate Footprint “from cradle to shelf”?

The cradle to shelf approach is based on simple and straight forward criteria to only include emissions that are directly controlled or influenced by the producer. The producer controls the production, choice of suppliers, and distribution of the product. The producer does not control what happens to the product once it is sold and therefore this step should not be included in the system boundaries.

Thus, a comparable food product climate footprint criterion can be summarised as follows:

include all emissions that are related to how the product is produced and distributed and thus independent of who the consumer is.
don’t include emission that is related to how the product is purchased, consumed and disposed and thus are dependent on who the consumer is.
One can argue that this does not include the full life cycle of the product, which is true, but it includes everything to make a fair comparison between products available in the store. For that reason, it also provides a valid footprint scope to use for consumer information when a purchase decision is made.