Can a product be “climate neutral”?

This is an interesting and complicated question. CarbonCloud holds the following position: If the life cycle of a product leads to a net release of greenhouse gases, the product should not be referred to as “climate neutral” even if the emissions are compensated for with carbon offsets.

What is carbon offsetting?

Some companies compensate their climate footprint by supporting projects around the world that either mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases compared to a baseline or remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. This is known as “carbon offsetting”. The intentions are praiseworthy, and it can definitely make sense to communicate about them to the public; however, not by claiming to be climate neutral. Instead we encourage statements of the type: “Our climate footprint is XX kg CO2e. We work on reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. We also invest in project YY that we believe can contribute in the fight against climate change.” This is the honest and transparent way. Why then, does the positive not just simply cancel out the negative? There are two main reasons.

1: It is very hard to know how large effect the projects really have. In many cases, they do not even seem to work at all.

2: There is a clear risk of double counting, meaning that several parties take credit for the same emission reductions, or greenhouse gas removals. Let us take a deeper look at these issues.

Does carbon offsetting work?

This is the million-dollar question. In some cases, it is inherently hard to asses. In other cases, we know that the answer is no. For each project we need to ask ourselves the following:

  • Does the project deliver the intended results? Things do not always go as planned. A large project in Kenya invested in energy efficient stoves. As it turned out, most of them were never used. Yet, climate offsets were certified and sold. In other projects we will not know the outcome for a very long time. Planted trees, for instance, only absorb and store carbon as long as they are not cut down. How can this be guaranteed for hundreds of years in countries such as Uganda, ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world?
  • Is the project “additional”? In some cases, the project would have taken place anyway, even without the income from carbon offsets. Wind power farms, for instance, produce carbon offsets based on the assumption that the electricity produced replaces coal power. But many of the countries that host the carbon offsetting projects are growing economies with a steadily increasing energy demand. The wind power farms may very well have been built anyway. Additionality is generally an explicit requirement for carbon offsetting project. But unfortunately, the analysis of whether a project is additional is often highly subjective and hard to evaluate in a transparent way. A German research study (Cames, 2016) found that only 2% of the investigated projects had a high probability of being additional.
  • Is leakage avoided? Leakage is when greenhouse gas emissions increase somewhere else, as a consequence of the carbon offsetting project. If trees are planted on land used by the local population for forage or agriculture, this may lead to other trees being cut down elsewhere. The local farmers may have no other options than to clear vegetation at a new location in order to continue their agricultural activities. This becomes at best a zero-sum game for the climate but a loss for the farmers who need to move, and a loss for biodiversity since planted forests host less biodiversity than natural vegetation.

Who takes the credit?

This is the second question we need to ask. In the business of carbon offsetting, it is not unusual that more than one party takes credit for the same action, resulting in deceptive book-keeping. Let us use an example: trees are planted in Uganda in a carbon-offsetting project. Company X buys the carbon offsets and label their products as “climate neutral”. This means that company X takes credit for the removal of greenhouse gases. However, it is not unlikely that Uganda also accounts for tree planting in the national inventories of greenhouse gas emissions. In that case the action is double counted.

Let us take another example. A wind-power plant is built in Brazil. Carbon offsets are sold, based on the assumption that the electricity replaces coal power. Avoiding double counting means that Brazil will have to assume that the electricity produced comes from coal power, although it actually comes from wind. This does not lie in the interest of Brazil, who has targets to reach under the Paris agreement. If enough carbon offsetting credits are sold, Brazil could end up in a situation where they have only renewable energy in reality but would need to keep on reporting as if they had only coal power, since they have sold the right for the emission reductions to other parties.

The negotiations of the Paris agreement have shown us how difficult it is to agree on rules that avoid double counting. Reaching our climate targets requires that we BOTH reduce emissions in all countries around the world AND remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, for instance by planting trees. Double counting blurs our vision and makes it harder to keep track of what remains to be done. If we look specifically at the food industry, we see that it is currently responsible for about 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC, 2014). To fulfill the Paris agreement and stop climate change these emissions will have to be reduced, even if all other emissions are reduced to zero! Crediting the food industry with reductions in other sectors can hence not be the solution for the food industry and such claims have the risk of delaying real and effective measures from being made.

What do we suggest?

There are technologies that you could argue actually work. One example is direct air capture, involving facilities that capture carbon dioxide from the air so that it can be stored below ground. It is a technology that has a high probability of giving the intended results. The likelihood is very low that that the carbon dioxide will escape from its storage below ground. It is a costly technology with no other positive side effects. Therefore, it can be considered “additional” since it will not be implemented unless someone pays for it. There are other technologies for climate compensation that you could argue also work. We applaud any engagement in such projects. However, our basic appeal is this: find out your climate footprint and communicate it to your customers without smokescreen. CarbonCloud is here to help!  

Cames, M., Harthan, R. O., Füssler, J., Lazarus, M., Lee, C., Erickson, P., & Spalding-Fecher, R. (2016). How additional is the clean development mechanism. Analysis of application of current tools and proposed alternatives. Oeko-Institut EV CLlMA. B3.

IPCC. (2014). Mitigation of climate change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change1454.

UKK har minskat sin klimatpåverkan med 14% med hjälp av CarbonCloud

Uppsala Konferens och Kongress, UKK, beräknade i höstas klimatpåverkan från maten de serverade. Efter resultaten presenterats valde de att justera sina inköp, förändra sina menyer och beräkna på nytt under våren. De nya resultaten visade en stor förbättring på väldigt kort tid, samtidigt som de nya koncepten blivit succér. Nu vill UKK nå ännu lägre nivåer av utsläpp.

CarbonCloud är ett Göteborgsbaserat foodtech-startup som utvecklat och erbjuder ett användarvänligt menyplaneringsverktyg – CarbonAte. Verktyget möjliggör bland annat för kockar att snabbt bli experter på att laga klimatsmart mat samtidigt som restaurangen får direkta resultat att kommunicera ut till gäster. Verktyget har använts av UKK sedan i höstas.

– Medvetenheten hos våra kockar har ökat ännu mer sedan vi började använda CarbonAte. Vårt sätt att tänka har förändrats när vi gör inköp idag. Enkelheten i att beräkna livsmedel och råvarors klimatpåverkan och därmed göra medvetna val är den i särklass största faktorn till att vi kunnat minska utsläppen så kraftigt under så kort tid, säger Robin Akrap, food and beverages manager på UKK.

foto: Magnus Hörberg

Både internt och externt har stora förändringar skett för UKK efter att de började beräkna maten. Kockarna började arbeta med nya smaker och testa nya råvaror som uppskattas av både personal och gäster. UKKs nya koncept​ ​Uppsalas grönaste brunch​ lanserades i februari, och har varit en succé. UKK har också märkt varje rätt med vilken klimatpåverkan varje enskild rätt har, så gästerna kan se, bli informerade och göra medvetna val.

– Givetvis hade vi tankar på hur våra gäster skulle reagera när vi skrev ut vilken klimatpåverkan våra rätter hade på miljön. Lunchen, till exempel, är helig för många. Men det har bara varit positiva reaktioner och många kommer in och är svinglada. Vi pratar mycket med våra gäster och känslan är att våra kundrelationer blivit starkare när vi
informerar och visar transparens, säger Robin Akrap.

Restaurangen på UKK har jobbat aktivt med klimatfrågan länge och har en Svanencertifiering sedan flera år tillbaka. Med det nya beräkningsverktyget har UKK, från en redan låg nivå, tagit ytterligare ett steg och lyckats sänka sina utsläpp än mer.

– Vi strävar alltid efter att vara moderna, smarta och vårt hållbarhetsarbete ska vara genomgående genom hela verksamheten. 14% minskning av utsläppen från vår mat på mindre än ett halvår är jättegoda resultat. Vår ökade medvetenhet har förändrat vårt sätt att tänka och gästerna är jättepositiva. Jag är övertygad om att vi kommer minska utsläppen från maten ännu mer i framtiden, säger Robin Akrap.

Restaurang Uppsala Konsert & Kongress har minskat sina utsläpp med ca 14%. Restaurangen hade ett utgångsvärde på 1,08 kg koldioxidekvivalenter per portion, vilket nu minskats till 0,93 kg. En svensk snittlunch släpper ut nästan två kg koldioxidekvivalenter per portion.*

*Källa:​ ​http://www.wwf.se/mat-och-jordbruk/matkalkylator/

För mer information, kontakta
David Bryngelsson, vd, CarbonCloud
Robin Akrap, food and beverage manager, UKK

Foodtech-startup från Göteborg sätter internationellt klimatavtryck

Den 20/3 meddelade livsmedelsföretaget Oatly att de kommer att börja redovisa klimatavtryck på samtliga produkter. Beräkningarna är utförda av CarbonCloud, ett Foodtech-startup från Göteborg, vars beräkningsmodell möjliggör för precisa resultat av livsmedels klimatpåverkan.

CarbonClouds världsunika beräkningsmodell är resultatet av över 20 års studier och forskning inom livsmedelsproduktion. Deras modell möjliggör för ett enskilt livsmedel att enkelt analyseras och snabbt få sitt klimatavtryck beräknat. Modellen hanterar noggrant utsläppen från de komplicerade biologiska processerna, samtidigt som det innebär mycket mindre arbete för matproducenten.

Vi löser den problematik som matproducenter haft kring att det varit för dyrt och tidskrävande att ta fram klimatavtrycksdata för produkter, samt att det varit svårt att jämföra olika resultat. Vi produktifierar vad som tidigare varit en konsulttjänst, vilket innebär att vi kan erbjuda mer konsekventa beräkningar till en lägre kostnad och med hög jämförbarhet mellan produkter. Vi ser även till att våra kunder ständigt har aktuella utsläppsdata i takt med att deras produktionssystem eller omvärlden utvecklas” säger David Bryngelsson, VD på CarbonCloud

Skillnaden i utsläpp mellan olika livsmedel har stor betydelse för klimatet. Om livsmedels klimatavtryck tydliggörs, ökar förhoppningsvis producenternas intresse för att sänka dem.

Vi vill visa våra produkters klimatavtryck för att konsumenter på ett enkelt sätt ska få guidning om vad som är klimatsmart mat. Förhoppningsvis skapar vår transparens en efterfrågan på denna typ av information om livsmedel generellt.” säger Carina Tollmar, hållbarhetschef på Oatly.

Målsättningen för CarbonCloud är att hjälpa producenter i planeringen av sina produktionslinjer och att förenkla för konsumenter att göra medvetna val. Oatlys internationella lansering av klimatavtryck på sina förpackningar, blir den hittills största spridningen av CarbonClouds beräkningar och resultat.  

Att vi kan hjälpa Oatly, som rankats som ett av världens tio mest innovativa företag, är ett stort erkännande för oss. Det är ett enormt framgångsrikt företag, mycket till stor del för att de ligger i framkant när det kommer till idéer och arbete med hållbar produktion av livsmedel. De har förstått att konsumenter vill bemöta klimatfrågan och att det är en affärsmässig hygienfråga att ha koll på sina utsläpp idag” säger Bryngelsson.

Från och med slutet av mars finns de första Oatly-förpackningarna med värden för klimatavtryck ute i butiker i Sverige. Parallellt med Sverige rullas det ut på fler marknader i Europa och målet är att klimatavtrycken ska synas globalt. Mängden CO2e kommer att tryckas vid innehållsförteckningen på baksidan av förpackningarna, och i vissa fall även i en liten bubbla på framsidan. Värdena redovisas dessutom löpande på företagets hemsida.

För mer information, pressbilder eller vidare intervju, kontakta gärna:

David Bryngelsson, VD på CarbonCloud

Telefon: 070 44 02 125, Mail: david@carboncloud.com

Climate labels at Biathlon World Championships

The Swedish Biathlon Federation collaborates with CarbonCloud for the 2019 IBU World Championships that are held in Östersund, Sweden, 7th to 17th of March.

It is a natural step for us to work with the climate impact of food at our events, since it is such a significant contributor to the climate problem. Climate change is an important issue for us, since we depend on cold winters to practice our sport, says Ulf von Sydow, sustainability group at 2019 IBU Biathlon World Championships.

Climate change is a big issue for winter sports as precious training days are lost each year due to the warming climate. As a part in their sustainability efforts and to increase their focus on climate change the Swedish Biathlon Federation decided to use CarbonCloud as an official supplier during the 2019 IBU World Championships. All food that is served to the athletes, the staff, and the press, is climate-footprint calculated in CarbonCloud’s menu planning tool CarbonAte, and climate-labelled menus are displayed in the restaurants.

We are happy that the Swedish Biathlon Federation take the climate issue seriously and help everyone who works at the event to choose climate smart food, says David Bryngelsson, CEO CarbonCloud. Food is normally, together with the personal trips to and from the event, the largest contributor to climate change for this type of event. Yet food is the activity where it is easiest to make climate smart choices, as long as those who choose what to eat have access to climate footprint information.

For more information, please contact:

Ulf von Sydow, Sustainability group at 2019 IBU Biathlon World Championships
E-mail: 
ulf.vonsydow@skidskytte.se

David Bryngelsson, CEO CarbonCloud
Tel: +46(0)704 – 40 21 25
E-mail: david@carboncloud.com

Carboncloud – a top 30 clean-tech company

CarbonCloud, the Swedish food tech start-up that helps the global food service industry to lower its carbon footprint while improving profit margins, was today selected one of Europe’s 30 most promising cleantech start-ups by EIT Climate-KIC.

In connection with the relaunch of the Investor Marketplace on 23 September 2018, the 30 most investor-ready companies from the EIT Climate-KIC’s start-up accelerator were identified and invited to take part in a preparatory program towards the annual Venture Competition taking place at Slush in Helsinki in December 2018. EIT Climate-KIC is running the world’s largest cleantech start-up accelerator, and these 30 have been identified to be the ones most ready for investors to help scale up operations and open new doors.

It’s a great honour and inspiration to be selected one of the 30 most promising cleantech start-ups in Europe says David Bryngelsson CEO and co-founder of CarbonCloud. The support from Climate-KIC accelerator has been extremely valuable and we are looking forward to connect with the international investor community at Slush.

CarbonCloud started as an idea based on a research project at Chalmers University of Technology and their carbon labeling service CarbonAte helps restaurants calculate the climate impact of each ingredient used in cooking and also gives the restaurant guest a clear climate calculation for each dish presented on the menu. CarbonCloud was earlier this spring selected as technical partner for WWF and their One Planet Plate campaign and was also recently awarded the sustainability award by The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Center.

Europe’s top 30 cleantech start-ups have been selected


For more information, please contact:

David Bryngelsson, CEO CarbonCloud
Tel: +46(0)704 – 40 21 25
E-mail: david@carboncloud.com

Mikkel Trym, Head of Climate-KIC Entreprenurship program in the Nordics
Tel: +45-51801566
E-mail: mikkel.trym@climate-kic.org


What is Climate-KIC?

EIT Climate-KIC is the EU’s largest public-private partnership addressing climate change through innovation to build a zero-carbon economy.

EIT Climate-KIC is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union that boosts innovation and entrepreneurship across Europe. The EIT has created numerous “Knowledge and Innovation Communities” (KICs) focused on different societal challenges, and EIT Climate-KIC is the innovation community addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Climate-KIC has brought together a world-class network of partners—from businesses of every size, academia and the public sector—who share a common interest in tackling climate change. We create new partnerships to integrate research, business and technology in order to transform innovative ideas into new goods, services and jobs.

Climate-KIC offers services to entrepreneurs to help them create their businesses, and we train students to use their climate change knowledge in the business world.

Climate label on all meals at Roskilde Festival


Food tech start-up CarbonCloud has entered a collaboration with the Roskilde Festival to support them in their sustainability work. Through CarbonCloud’s innovative climate impact calculator, CarbonAte, all 400 food options served during the festival by 100 different food vendors will be marked with climate labels. This will make it easier for visitors to make sustainable climate smart choices and enable the festival to measure the climate impact of its food operations.

The carbon footprint from all meals served during this year’s festival has, with the help of CarbonCloud’s unique and scientific solution, been calculated and the food stall menus have been complemented with CarbonCloud’s climate-label system. The Roskilde Festival, with its strong focus on sustainability, has for a long time been looking for ways to reduce the climate impact their food sales. Thanks to this collaboration, the festival will be able to calculate the total climate impact from food and build a foundation for its future climate strategy.

The ambition for the Roskilde Festival is to be an influencer and pave the way for a green transformation. Our goals are set high in an effort to inspire our partners, food vendors and visitors. Not only during the festival but long after it has ended. It is a natural step for us to begin to work with the impact the festival food has on our climate, and to calculate the carbon dioxide emissions of all meals sold. Therefore, we are very pleased to have entered a collaboration with CarbonCloud, who will measure the total carbon footprint from all of our 400 different dishes served during the festival. Thanks to this, we will be able to build a foundation from which we can and will continue our sustainability work,

says Lars Orlamundt, Division Manager, Roskilde Festival.

We are very happy to collaborate with the Roskilde Festival. Music festivals are visited by lots of young people who are concerned about climate change and our future, and the goal is to expand our festival operation and climate label the food at many more festivals to come, in Sweden, Scandinavia and the rest of the world,

says David Bryngelsson, CEO of CarbonCloud.

CarbonCloud started out as research project at Chalmers University of Technology and is part of EIT Climate-KIC’s EU-financed accelerator for start-up companies working towards zero-carbon solutions. CEO and co-founder David Bryngelsson has a long research career centered around climate change and what can be done to prevent further emissions, with a focus on the impact of food.

CarbonCloud and their climate labelling service CarbonAte enable restaurants to quickly and easily calculate the carbon impact of each ingredient used in their cooking, combined with inspiring, pedagogical menus with carbon footprint labels for each dish. Since March this year, CarbonCloud collaborates with WWF, World Wildlife Fund, and their One Planet Plate food concept. In May, CarbonCloud was awarded The Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre’s sustainability price for its innovation CarbonAte. And today, the collaboration with the Roskilde Festival commences.

The Roskilde Festival is not the only place where sustainable food is a hot topic; it is also one of the focus areas at the ongoing politician week at Almedalen, Gotland. CarbonCloud participates in numerous seminars and panels throughout Almedalen, and is together with WWF, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and the Swedish think tank Fores one of the organizers of the competition “The most climate smart food in Almedalen”. If you wish to learn more, steer your browser to smartklimatmat.se.


For more information, please contact:

David Bryngelsson, CEO of CarbonCloud
Tel: +46 (0)704 – 40 21 25
E-mail: david@carboncloud.com

Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre stipend

Today CarbonCloud was awarded a stipend from The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre for its innovation CarbonAte, the climate labelling tool that makes it easy for restaurants to calculate the climate impact of food and for their customers to make sustainable choices.

The stipend of 100 000 SEK is yet another proof that CarbonCloud’s climate labelling tool CarbonAte is a timely product that helps the company reach an ever more mature market that demands a simple and pedagogical climate labelling of food.

What we choose to eat makes a large difference for the climate. This is a well-established fact in the research community, but we felt that those who make the decisions about food, both those who prepare it and those who consume it, did not have the right information available. We saw that awareness about sustainable choices related to what we eat grew but that there were no simple tool that clearly shows what climate impact is associated with what we put on our plats. Our climate labelling solution solves this problem, which both restaurateurs and their guests have welcomed with great enthusiasm. The feedback has been very positive, with large reductions in emissions and more satisfied chefs and guests. The wonderful award from The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre is gratifying and helps us in our work, which is very valuable for a start-up with limited resources but large potential, says David Bryngelsson CEO CarbonCloud.

The motivation for Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre award is: “CarbonCloud has been awarded the stipend since their service has a positive impact on climate and profitability while it is easy to use for chefs in the food sector, and therefore also benefits tourism”.

We see an enormous potential in CarbonAte. It is an innovation where digitisation and sustainability go hand in hand and that creates utility for the environment, restaurants and individual guests and visitors. Sustainability is an important area for all our activities. It is present in our thinking, both as a meeting place and workplace. Sustainable development is a natural part in the whole organization and the restaurants are no exception. Our own restaurant West Coast is first to try CarbonAte, says Carin Kindbom, CEO The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre.

CarbonCloud started as an idea based on a research project at Chalmers University of Technology and has since then taken off. David Bryngelsson, CEO and co-founder, has centered his research on the climate problem and what can be done about it, focused on the food sector.

CarbonCloud and their climate labelling tool CarbonAte help restaurants calculate the climate impact of each ingredient that is used in cooking and also give the consumers a lucid climate calculation for each dish on the menu. CarbonCloud collaborates since March this year with World Wildlife Fund WWF, which has launched the concept One Planet Plate. A part of the collaboration consists of developing and designing Matkalkylatorn, which makes it possible for private consumers to calculate the climate impact of different types of foods.

About The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre

The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and Gothia Towers together form one of Europe’s largest fully integrated meeting places with a city-centre location. Every year, around 1.8 million people from all over the world choose to meet, eat, stay overnight and to develop business, products and ideas with us. We offer everything from hotels, shops, theatres, spas and restaurants to exhibition halls and various meeting facilities. Everything under one roof, and with city life just outside the door.

Read more at www.svenskamassan.se

For more information, please contact:

David Bryngelsson, CEO CarbonCloud
Tel: +46(0)704 – 40 21 25
E-mail: david@carboncloud.com

Nils Sjöberg, The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre
Tel: +46(0)701 – 61 68 50
E-mail: nils.sjoberg@svenskamassan.se