The Big Climate Database - Denmark

Den store klimadatabase
Provides consumers and producers with an overview of the carbon footprint of common food products.

The Big Climate Database has been nominated for the Nordic Council Environment Prize 2021.

The Big Climate Database, from Denmark’s green think-tank CONCITO, is the first of its kind, and has a simple and accessible format, providing society and individuals with insight into the carbon footprint of different food products. The Big Climate Database is innovative because of its methodological approach to data collection, its large number of foodstuffs and its targeting of the food sector. The initiative is useful for other sustainable and behaviour-changing foodstuffs solutions, and was chosen, among other reasons, because it has a broad societal perspective, and can be used by individual citizens as well as by authorities and companies. The database's greatest potential is thus its free accessibility on the Internet.

As foodstuffs account for a quarter of all CO2 emissions, the availability of comprehensive information on which foods have high and low carbon footprints is important for the necessary change in food production and consumer behaviour.

Once we know the carbon footprint of various foods, we can also actively decide which foods to prioritise – both in agriculture and in kitchens. 

Because the Big Climate Database makes this information available in an easily comprehensible manner, and thereby contributes to a more sustainable food system, the project has been nominated for the Nordic Council Environment Prize 2021.

About this year’s theme: Sustainable food systems

For food production to be considered sustainable, the food must be produced locally where possible, using environmentally sustainable methods. In agriculture, the emphasis is on recirculated plant nutrition and environmentally friendly farming practices that take into account greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration, biodiversity and good management of water resources. Those engaged in animal husbandry and fish farming accept an environmental responsibility and maintain high standards of animal welfare. Natural resources used for food, such as game, wild fish and other natural products, are exploited wisely.

When ingredients are processed into food products, as much as possible of their nutritional content is preserved. There is no waste of resources in the food industry, products are packaged in an energy-efficient way and the environmental impact of distribution is minimised. Companies and retailers offer customers sustainable alternatives, and minimise food waste through their own initiatives. The food that consumers buy is based on environmentally sustainable alternatives, such as vegetarian food adapted to the seasons. We eat as many calories as we need, no food goes to waste and organic waste is recycled.