In 2016, an international food brand for fruit and vegetables wanted to know more about the carbon footprint of lettuces and strawberries from California. We calculated the carbon footprint and water footprint for both products.
After an on-site visit, we used the primary data collected there and linked it to other values provided by the company and its suppliers. We followed the cradle-to-gate approach, looking at the journey from the field to the packaging of the products.
To calculate the carbon footprint, we used the guidelines set by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. They were developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. We calculated soil emissions and carbon removal based on the Cool Farm Tool. The water footprint is based on the guidelines of the Global Water Footprint Network.
To reduce the carbon and water footprint in this case, it made sense to expand the farms’ current fertilisation practices and to utilise crop residues, since compost, beneficial microbes and undersown crops help to reduce emissions.