How do we calculate the Eco-score?
With the Eco-score, we want to map out the entire environmental impact of food products. Yes, really the full impact. This enables us to continue to make our product range more sustainable, so you can make more sustainable choices. Calculating the impact involves many different data and criteria. On the one hand, factors that influence the environment throughout a product's life cycle, and on the other hand any additional pluses and minuses, for example, sustainability labels that have been awarded.
From farm to fork
If you want to know the full environmental impact of a product, you have to look at the whole path it takes. The ‘life cycle’, say, from raw material, production, distribution, consumption to waste disposal.
In order to know the ecological impact of this cycle, we use the results of the life cycle analyses in the Agribalyse database. They are calculated on the basis of the PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) method and take various factors into account.
- Climate change
- Depletion of the ozone layer
- Ionising radiation
- Land, water and energy use
- Land, water and air pollution
(fine particles, acidification, eutrophication...)
- Resource depletion
Earn bonus points!
Besides the life cycle of a product, other elements influence the environment as well. The protection of biodiversity, for example, or the impact of plastic on the oceans. Just like the environmental requirements, which may vary from country to country. Therefore, it is important to take additional criteria into account when assessing the environmental impact of a product. And that is how products can earn additional plus or minus points.
The calculation method of the Eco-score is a solid method which originated in France. As it is very complex to make a life cycle assessment of a product, the French methodology uses average values for the same product category. They can be found in the “Agribalyse” database.
The specific data needed to assign plus and minus points are usually more readily available. On the packaging, for example. However, we do not always find the necessary information there either. The producer can, of course, provide or add additional information on the label to calculate the Eco-score.
The more specific data we have, the more accurate the score will be. We therefore want to encourage brands to be transparent and to provide the necessary data. Step by step, we are working to collect even more data and thus refine the method so that the Eco-score is even better geared to the Belgian market.
Two products of Boni Selection Bio are compared, i.e. organic honey in a glass jar and the liquid organic honey in a squeeze bottle. The first has an Eco-score A whereas the second scores worse with a B. They are both organic products with a similar origin. How do we explain the difference? Although the liquid honey scores 5 plus points because it is fair trade, the product loses a lot of points when it comes to packaging. The non-recyclable plastic squeeze bottle scores 12 minus points, while the glass jar with metal lid only loses 2 points.