15 Sep 2020, 14:29
Alex Dziadosz

Controversial petition for CO2 food labels heard by German parliament committee

Wirtschaftswoche / Clean Energy Wire

A petition to put greenhouse gas emissions labelling on food was heard by the German parliament’s petition committee after it was signed by nearly 60,000 people, writes Pauline Faust in WirtschaftsWoche. The petition, initiated by the Swedish oat milk maker Oatly, suggested to commit manufacturers to list on labels the greenhouse gases caused by their products. Oatly has pushed for transparency in the sector, for instance using the slogan, “Hey food industry, show us your numbers!” Tobias Goj, a managing director at Oatly Germany, says one fifth of greenhouse gas emissions in Germany are caused by the food industry.

The petition faced criticism from some lawmakers, who dismissed it as a publicity stunt. “The Bundestag is a stage for the company,” Gitta Connemann, deputy parliamentary group leader of the conservative CDU/CSU alliance said. “Of course Oatly knows that the CO2 label sounds good. Oatly also knows that scientifically reliable labeling is currently not possible.” Government representative Uwe Feiler, state secretary in the agriculture ministry said that the government was doubtful whether accurate climate labelling is possible for every product. The government was instead supporting the EU Commission’s “Farm-to-Fork” strategy and labelling that included several factors, such as resource and water consumption of the product.

Oatly, one of the most prominent oat milk brands, has previously raised controversy because of receiving financing from investment firm Blackstone.

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