Information about the carbon footprints of products and business activities is currently in demand in virtually all sectors. Calculating the carbon footprint supports business development and helps consumers to make more informed choices. This spring, the pilot restaurants of the Mission Zero Foodprint are testing the calculator of the carbon footprint of individual meals developed by Clonet Oy and trying to determine how to communicate about the carbon footprint to consumers appropriately.

The key factor that determines the carbon footprint of restaurants is the ingredients of the meals served by them. Through acquisitions and recipes, restaurants can have a major effect on the carbon footprint of the meal served to customers. In addition to the ingredients of meals, energy consumption has a significant impact on the carbon footprint of restaurants. In order to reduce the carbon footprint in a determined manner and make activities more sustainable, measured data and suitable tools are required.

The purpose of the Mission Zero Foodprint project is to study what the carbon footprint of restaurants is composed of and how it can be reduced through the restaurants’ daily activities. In the project, Forum Virium Helsinki is co-ordinating an experiment in which the best methods for measuring the carbon footprint of restaurant activities are developed through digital solutions. The companies selected in the agile pilot programme get to experiment on and co-create solutions in authentic settings. The ten different types of pilot restaurants of the project are concrete experimentation environments that highlight the practical needs and experiences of daily restaurant activities.

One of the companies selected for the experiments is Clonet Oy, a specialist in the development of responsible and carbon-neutral business operations and the measuring of carbon footprints. The selection of Clonet was based on the company’s solid climate professionalism and expertise in calculating carbon footprints. In addition to this, Clonet’s experiment has a clear development approach and will to develop the tool in co-operation with the restaurant sector.

OpenCO2.net service opens up the emissions of restaurant activities

The OpenCO2.net carbon footprint platform developed by Clonet provides companies with tools to calculate carbon footprints and compare emission levels. The calculators of the service are based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and ISO14067 emission calculation standards and emission factor data collected from reliable sources. During the pilot, Clonet is developing the calculator of the carbon footprint of individual meals customised for restaurants on the basis of the OpenCO2.net tools. With the calculator, restaurants can calculate the environmental impact of the preparation of a single meal.

“The goal of the experiment is to provide restaurants with a tool that helps to identify the factors that affect the carbon footprint of the restaurant’s own activities. The tools also make it possible to compare the impact of different choices on the carbon footprint of an individual meal. The basis of the experiment to allow restaurants take the environment into account in their daily activities without it increasing the workload of the staff significantly,” says Clonet’s CEO Sari Siitonen.

Co-creation with restaurants is at the heart of the experiment. The aim is to develop the solution experimented on according to the experiment’s lessons and the feedback collected from users. Clonet started the experiments by interviewing the restaurants involved. In the initial interviews, experts studied the restaurants’ needs and motivation for reducing their carbon footprint.

“The restaurants have been really interested in the experiment and co-operation with them has been seamless. They have provided us with lots of baseline data and valuable insights on how to develop the calculator. It is important for the calculator to be both reliable and user-friendly in order to allow different restaurants use it for business development purposes,” says Roosa Jaakkola, Clonet’s Manager of Carbon Footprint Services.

Experiments with the carbon footprint calculator of individual meals start at the pilot restaurants in March. The pilot restaurants experiment with the calculator for two months by calculating the carbon footprint of selected meals or entire menus. The calculator makes it possible to compare different ingredients and supports planning environmentally friendly meals. In addition to developing the operations of the restaurants, the goal is to study together how the carbon footprint information collected could be utilised in customer communications in the best possible manner.

Clonet’s calculators will also be taken into use in an experiment at Café Tin Tin Tango in Töölö, which is one of the pilot restaurants of the project. “We are hoping to find a user-friendly tool that allows for monitoring the carbon footprint of all restaurant operations. It is wonderful to be able to test the OpenCO2.net platform in this experiment, and we are also eagerly waiting to see whether telling customers about the carbon footprint of each meal affects their choices,” says Tio Tikka, who runs Tin Tin Tango and several other restaurants in Helsinki. 

Sustainable restaurant activities through experimentation

During this spring’s experiment, the carbon footprint of restaurant operations is also being reduced through solutions that prevent food waste from being generated. In addition to Clonet’s carbon footprint calculator for individual meals, the restaurants are experimenting with two other digital tools selected in the call for pilot projects that focus on preventing food waste from being generated.

In addition to the digital solutions, Laurea University of Applied Sciences is working on the best practices for reducing carbon footprint and food waste together with the pilot restaurants. Various restaurants, institutions of higher education, City experts and companies are involved in the project’s co-creation activities. The process will continue with experiments this spring as the pilot restaurants provide feedback and ideas for development concerning the solutions they have experimented on. The most valuable lessons and best practices of the experiments will be included in a report near the end of the project.

 

 

The Mission Zero Foodprint project brings together restaurant and food services industry companies, developers and interest groups to co-create restaurant operating processes aiming towards carbon neutrality. The project involves testing and developing digital tools and piloting new operating models in collaboration with restaurants in the Uusimaa region. The project is coordinated by Forum Virium Helsinki, with Laurea University of Applied Sciences serving as project partner. The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council.

 

Photo:  Brooke Lark / Unsplash

Further information

Annamaria Rossi

Project Planner


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