Sweden plans “green” labels for food

Sweden is to become the first country to put certified “climate-friendly” labels on food products, New Scientist reports. To earn a label under the voluntary scheme, companies must prove they have reduced their greenhouse-gas emissions. The hope is that the tags will prompt consumers to buy greener products, although there are concerns that some companies may engage in “greenwashing”.

“The only thing we’re guaranteeing is that improvements have been made,” said Anna Richert, an adviser to the Federation of Swedish Farmers (LRF) and head of the team developing the criteria for labelling products. “This could mean reductions in emissions of anything from 5 to 80%.”

Richert said companies would not be able to greenwash products – that is, to present them as more environmentally friendly than they actually are – because each product will be certified independently.

A small milk producer north of Stockholm is expected to be the first company to carry the “climate-certified” tag. In reducing its use of energy and nutrients, the company switched from chemical-based fertilisers to manure.

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