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UBC Graduate Research

UBC Vancouver Climate-Friendly Food System Label : Phase 1 and Phase 2 Luo, Yu


According to the UBC Climate Action Plan 2030, UBC campus food systems is the second-highest category of GHG emissions on campus. Thus, to mitigate the impact of food systems on climate change, UBC aims to achieve a 50% GHG emission reduction of food systems on campus by 2030. To achieve this ambitious target, this project was designed to increase climate-friendly food choices at UBC Vancouver Campus by examininghow climate-friendly food system labels impact food choices in a University dining setting. In Phase 1, we designed a simple label with a globe and a thermometer in green (i.e., low GHG emissions), yellow (i.e., moderate GHG emissions), and red (i.e., high GHG emissions) color. We then measured its impact on customers’ food choices in an online survey and a field experiment at Mercante outlet, a pizza store on campus managed by UBC Food Services. In Phase 2, we improved the design of the CFFS label with the concept of traffic lights to increase inclusivity and measured its impact in an online survey and a field experiment at Mercante and Open Kitchen. We found that the CFFS labels, either the simple labels or complex labels, added next to the food items on a menu are supported by our survey respondents. In Phase 1, our field experiment also showed that the CFFS labels changed customers’ actual food choices from high GHG emission food items to low GHG emission food items at Mercante. In Phase 2, we found a positive trend suggesting that the CFFS labels might maintain the choice of high GHG emission food items at the lowest among all other food items. Given the positive evidence found in this project, it is promising that implementing the climate-friendly food system labels on campus can have a significant impact on lowering UBC’s GHG emissions over the next 10 years to meet the target of achieving a 50% GHG emission reduction of food systems. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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