Do You Understand These Common Sustainability Terms?

Sustainable efforts are nothing new to consumer behavior, but the discussion around protecting the environment is always evolving. If you want to market your operation as eco-conscious, you’ll want to understand the language surrounding sustainability in the food supply chain. That begins with an understanding of companies’ efforts to reduce carbon emissions.


Read on to learn the ins and outs of commonly used terms used by suppliers and consumers alike.

carbon emissions image

Eco Term: Carbon Emissions

This term usually refers to the greenhouse gases – specifically carbon dioxide – emitted that warm Earth’s atmosphere. While carbon dioxide is a natural element that is absorbed by plants and oceans, when too much of it is in the atmosphere, natural absorption processes can’t keep up. The excess prevents heat from escaping the atmosphere, changing temperatures over time.


Eco Term: Carbon Neutral

A goal for many companies, carbon neutrality means that a company has offset 100% of their carbon emissions. This could be through either cutting down on emissions in some areas or purchasing carbon credits.


Eco Term: Net Zero

wind mills and solar panels

When referring to a company’s carbon emissions, net zero means that the company has reduced emissions to almost zero and removing the unavoidable residual emissions form the atmosphere. This can have a huge impact on sustainability in the food supply chain.


Eco Term: Carbon Negative

This term represents efforts that go beyond net zero emissions. If a company is carbon negative, that means that they are removing more carbon from the atmosphere than they create.


Eco Term: Carbon Offset

Carbon offset schemes are investments in projects that will combat excess carbon in the atmosphere. For example, a company may contribute to balancing the world’s carbon footprint by planting trees to increase the CO2 absorption in a region. These schemes can be ways that companies reach carbon neutrality.

Eco Term: Science-Based Targets

climate scientist in the field

It’s difficult to make a change as far as sustainability in the food supply chain without specific data. Science-based targets or SBTs are essential when attempting to reach net-zero carbon emissions. These targets are set using verified calculations in reductions of emissions in line with a 1.5C rise.

Eco Term: Climatarian

As more people focus on their carbon footprints, the idea of eating to reduce carbon emissions – or climatarianism – has gained popularity. Climatarians may avoid foods that require long transports, as well as meats with higher greenhouse gas emissions.


So, how can your operation accommodate climatarians? You may want to offer:


Meat-free options

In-season produce

Locally sourced ingredients


Luckily, these dishes can easily overlap with vegetarian and vegan options to suit multiple guests interested in sustainability in the food supply chain.


Finding Programs That Fit Your Needs

For many operators, sustainability in the food supply chain is a priority. It’s a priority for Foodbuy, too. That’s why we offer many programs geared towards environmental friendliness. You can learn more about our dedication to sustainability here.


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