Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Eco-Score, a first in Belgium
Consumers want to be more and better informed about the products they buy. Stefan Goethaert, responsible for the Eco-Score project at Colruyt Group, states: “People want simple, relevant information. They want to go beyond how healthy a product is and what its nutritional value is. Market research has shown that customers are also asking questions about the environmental impact of their products. It is up to us as retailers to help them, starting with our private label products.” The Eco-Score is a new, recently developed solution for demonstrating the ecological footprint of a product. With a design and ranking system with letters and colours reminiscent of the Nutri-Score, consumers can more easily assess whether or not their product has a major impact on the environment.
Online consultation via Colruyt Group's SmartWithFood app
In a first phase, Colruyt Group makes the Eco-Scores of about 2500 Boni Selection and other private label products available online via the SmartWithFood app. With this app, consumers scan the barcode of a Colruyt Group Boni Selection food product, and get to see the corresponding Eco-Score. Stefan Goethaert: “Later on, score recognition will also be rolled out step by step to other app applications such as MyColruyt, Xtra and Collect&Go. Before the summer, the Eco-Scores of national brand products should be available for consultation via our online tools. In a next phase, we will start a gradual roll-out of the Eco-Score on the packaging of all our Boni Selection food products.”
Nutri-Score and Eco-Score complement each other
The efforts of Colruyt Group regarding the Eco-Score come on top of the current roll-out of and investments in the Nutri-Score. “In this way, we can guide customers to make really well-informed choices, both in terms of health - with the Nutri-Score - and in terms of the environment with this Eco-Score,” says Stefan Goethaert. These two scores are perfectly in line with Colruyt Group’s “step by step” programme, where the retailer has made a commitment to help consumers become more aware of what they consume.
Eco-Score: methodology from France, more than just CO2
The methodology of the Eco-Score was developed by a collective of independent players* in France. The score is made up of two components, on the one hand the results of the life cycle analysis of a product (from farm to fork) and on the other hand the addition of extra indicators according to a bonus-malus system. The results of the life cycle analyses of more than 2,500 product categories are available in the Agribalyse database.
Calculating the score in Agribalyse** is based on the PEF method (Product Environmental Footprint) and considers issues such as climate change, water use, land use, particulate matter and acidification. Stefan Goethaert adds: “This Eco-Score therefore goes far beyond just the CO2 emissions - the ‘carbon footprint’. Eco-Score also takes into account plus and minus points (bonus-malus scores), such as transport, recyclability and certification. The combination of all these factors makes this Eco-Score so special and allows us to apply it to food products.”
An informed choice
Within Colruyt Group, people have been working hard for years to find ways to make conscious sustainable choices possible for customers, and the retailer wants to continue to play a pioneering role in this. Colruyt Group has already come a long way in terms of environmental footprint in particular.*** Stefan Goethaert adds: “We made the decision to join the recently developed French methodology of the Eco-Score based on our accumulated knowledge. It has the support of the French government (Public Service Environment and Energy) and has a robust base on which to build in the coming years. We have therefore decided to promote this further in our own country.”
Ambition: improve environmental score of private labels
Parallel to the introduction of the Eco-Score in Belgium, Colruyt Group also wants to actively reduce the environmental impact of its (food) private labels. Here, the environmental impact of private label products is systematically scrutinised through life cycle analyses. Stefan Goethaert: “To measure the environmental impact you have to map the entire chain and that is a challenging task. Thanks to those analyses, we can identify the hotspots that we ultimately have to improve - and that is what we are going to focus on.” In this way, the teams also improve the quality of the data. Together with the suppliers, we will then look at the right actions to take that will have the greatest impact on the environment.
* Full methodology on https://docs.score-environnemental.com/. This methodology was developed by a collective of eight independent French players: ECO2 Initiative, Etiquettable, FoodChéri, Marmiton, Open Food Facts, ScanUp, Seazon and Yuka.
** The Agribalyse database was developed by the French government and is based on the PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) methodology. It takes into account 16 impact categories including climate change, water use, land use, particulate matter and acidification. The scores are average scores.
*** Since 2008, Colruyt Group has been strongly committed to testing methods to calculate the environmental impact of its own business activities and to setting up reduction strategies based on a baseline measurement. The fact that we co-designed the OEF (Organisation Environmental Footprint) guidelines and actively followed up the development of the PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) standard for products, in cooperation with the European Commission, are concrete examples in this respect. With a recent signature of the Green Consumption Pledge, an initiative of the European Commissioner for Consumer Protection Didier Reynders, the group showed that they mean business.
If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact Colruyt Group’s press department - firstname.lastname@example.org 0473 92 45 10 (NL) - 0473 82 27 15 (FR)