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5 January 2015  

INNOCAT partner Turin looks into catering's carbon footprint

The City of Turin (Italy), an INNOCAT partner, has recently published results of a monitoring exercise to establish the size of the city catering contract’s carbon footprint. Turin has a population of over 900,000 people and provides approximately 8 million meals to schools and kindergartens each year. The current catering contract, which has been in place since 2013, includes a number of sustainable procurement criteria. These include the purchase of energy efficient appliances, the use of low carbon vehicles for transportation, using tap water instead of bottled, decreased packaging levels and a switch to packaging with a lower environmental impact.

The City wished to see which measures had been effective as well as recognizing areas of improvement for the next catering contract. Using a life cycle analysis approach which considered emissions from field to plate, they measured the carbon footprints of the five most commonly consumed food products (potatoes, carrots, apples, pears and peaches). Results were interesting and, in some cases, surprising. It was discovered, for example, that transportation within the city accounted for just 1 percent of the overall carbon footprint while production processes for the product groups measured amounted to between 75 and 95 percent of the total.

Turin is currently considering whether to apply this model more widely and calculate the entire environmental footprint (including ecological, carbon and water) of the catering service.

For more information, read the GPP case study on Turin.