TUCO launches innovative greenhouse gas footprint calculator

24th April 2018

The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO), has launched a ground-breaking greenhouse gas footprint calculator. The application is an exciting new tool which enables caterers to easily calculate the greenhouse gas footprint of their menus. The innovative calculator is available for free and online via the TUCO website www.tuco.ac.uk/ghgcalculator

The calculator is extremely simple to use, with only a few drop-down steps to follow. By selecting ingredients and inserting quantities the total greenhouse gases will be displayed, along with the emissions per serving in grams.

Currently the calculator contains 207 ingredients, with more expected to be added later in the year. To measure appropriate emissions for transport, a total of 14 regions of origin are available.

The project was initiated in early 2017 by Mike Haslin, CEO of TUCO and Elizabeth Crawford, TUCO consultant. They met with Helen Harwatt, lead consultant at Planet Friendly Food after being introduced through a project Harwatt consults on with the Humane Society International UK.

TUCO’s keen interest in the environmental impact of food, and in a drive to discover the environmental footprint menu items in university dining halls, they were led to invest time and money in the research and development of the greenhouse gas calculator.

Mike Haslin, CEO of TUCO commented:

"We are extremely excited to launch the new Greenhouse Gas Footprint calculator on our website. The application is a stimulating and valuable tool for our members, allowing them to share important information with their diners in higher and further education.

The project took approximately seven months to deliver. The main processes were to review the greenhouse gas footprint literature for food, create a robust database of the amounts of greenhouse gases for different foods for use in the calculator and work with a software programmer to build the tool. Were delighted with the result."

Helen Harwatt, Planet Friendly Food lead consultant commented:

"I thought this was a great idea and fitted well within my area of expertise as I've worked on food greenhouse gas footprinting. I'm keen to contribute to projects that provide tools for institutes to move forward with sustainable food."

The calculator was initially piloted at three institutes. From a small group interview, they found all wanted to see such information on menu displays and learn more about its meaning.

Harwatt adds:

"I think this is a fantastic, and unintended, impact of the calculator. We're now exploring ways to accentuate the learning and understanding aspect and I'm excited about the value this will add to the calculator and the institutes using it. I can see the calculator being a very helpful tool with some interesting and diverse consequences.

As far as I know, this is the first calculator of its kind, so I think TUCO deserve recognition for their forward thinking and innovation."

The Greenhouse Gas Footprint calculator is available now at www.tuco.ac.uk/ghgcalculator
TUCO launches innovative greenhouse gas footprint calculator image #1