UBC Undergraduate Research

Carbon Footprint Information Promotes Sustainable Food Choices Safi, Omran K.; Tommasi, Marco; Sun, Bryan; Thornley, Jackson; Dodani, Anisha


We chose to explore the environmental impact of plant-based diets. Specifically, we wanted to know whether we could influence people’s dietary decisions with a simple nudge. Knowing that plant-based meals are more environmentally sustainable than meat6, we explored the relative differences in carbon footprint. We partnered with Grub Grab, a meal subscription service that offers both plant-based and meat-based options on campus. We calculated the respective carbon footprints of each meal they offer and implemented this data on their website. The website previously included metrics on each meal for fats, protein, carbs and calories. Our nudge was the addition of carbon footprint information, which demonstrated some environmental disparity between the plant-based and meat-based options. Our study compared the meal preferences of participants with and without the carbon footprint information. We wanted to know how implementing a nudge campaign using carbon footprint information would affects people’s meal choices. We hypothesized that there will be increased selection for items with low carbon footprint and decreased selection for items with high carbon footprint. Our results supported this hypothesis. 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.”

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International