The Climate Meal campaign brings climate-friendly meals to restaurant menus from 25 October to 28 November 2021. In the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, about 50 restaurants have signed up for the pilot project, each of which will offer at least one climate meal option daily. The carbon footprint of a Climate Meal is smaller than average. Customers can identify the meals by the blue-white Climate Meal label. After the pilot, the restaurants can keep using the Climate Meal label.
The restaurants participating in the Climate Meal campaign get access to carbon footprint calculators, while they commit to offering Climate Meals on their menus. The recognisable Climate Meal label provides the customers of the restaurants with information about climate-friendly choices and an easy way to influence their own carbon footprint.
The Climate Meal campaign, created in cooperation with restaurant operators, is a part of the Mission Zero Foodprint project coordinated by Forum Virium Helsinki. Mission Zero Foodprint project promotes carbon neutrality of small restaurants by developing a model and smart solutions, and by making the change visible for consumers.
What is a climate meal?
The Climate Meal label can be awarded to a dish made from ingredients that have a combined carbon footprint of no more than 1.0 kg CO2e, which is significantly less than the Finnish average. At the moment, the average Finnish carbon footprint for meals is 4.8 kg CO2e per day. According to the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, the carbon footprint of food should be reduced by 60% in the future if we want to reach the climate targets set.
Even the smallest changes to daily diet can significantly reduce the carbon footprint. For example, the climate impact of an omnivorous diet can be reduced by about 30–40 per cent by adding more plant-based foods into the diet. The climate meals offered also follow this principle: they are mostly plant-based, but they may include some animal products.
Restaurants excited to participate
The Climate Meal campaign encourages restaurants to offer climate-friendly options to their customers and provides tools for calculating the carbon footprint of the meals. Restaurants have received the campaign with excitement, and about 50 premises from the Helsinki metropolitan area have signed up for the campaign. Climate meals are offered by Dylan restaurants, Sofia Helsinki, Sushibar+Wine, Palmia restaurants and Löyly, among others.
“We feel it is important to offer our customers information about the food’s climate impact, since that is in line with our values. As a part of climate actions and business development, the Dylan restaurants are also considering ways of making recycling more efficient and minimising food waste, for example,” says Miia Pirttijärvi, marketing manager from Soupster Family.
Matters of sustainability are key to the restaurant industry, and an increasing number of restaurants want to do their part in supporting progress towards carbon neutrality. For example, the goal of the City of Helsinki is to be carbon-neutral by 2030, while the Finnish Government’s national goal is to reach carbon neutrality by 2035.
“Climate impact is a central theme in promoting the economic development of the metropolitan area, and it is also important to the residents. To achieve the carbon neutrality goals, it is essential that consumers are offered opportunities to make eco-friendly choices in an easy way. Through Climate Meal, we can make consumption habits more transparent and allow for environmentally sustainable choices,” says Jukka-Pekka Tolvanen, the City of Helsinki’s business development advisor in charge of cooperation with restaurants.
The Climate Meal campaign is being implemented by the City of Helsinki’s innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki. The cooperation partners in the campaign are the City of Helsinki, Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY, Unilever Food Solutions, Jamix, Clonet, Lounastaja, TableOnline and Positive Impact. The campaign is part of the Mission Zero Foodprint project, funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council.
You can find the restaurants participating in the Climate Meal campaign here.
Mission Zero Foodprint aims to promote the carbon neutrality of small and medium restaurant and food service companies in the Uusimaa region and support cooperation between companies in the restaurant industry. The project is being coordinated by Forum Virium Helsinki and Laurea University of Applied Sciences as a partner. The project is being implemented in 2019–2021 and funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council. More information is available at the website.