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Tracking Progress Toward the Cool Food Pledge: Setting Climate Targets, Tracking Metrics, Using the Cool Food Calculator, and Related Guidance for Pledge Signatories

The Cool Food Pledge is a global initiative that helps food providers sell delicious dishes with smaller climate footprints. This technical note, and the accompanying Cool Food Calculator, help Cool Food Pledge signatories and other food providers set targets and track climate impacts over time. Specifically, these resources help signatories do the following:

  • Set a food-related GHG emissions reduction target in line with the climate goals of the Paris Agreement. This technical note draws from the World Resources Report: Creating a Sustainable Food Future (which has a Paris-compliant pathway for the food and agriculture sector for 2050) and the Science Based Targets initiative’s target-setting methods to define a collective, sector-wide GHG emissions reduction target for Cool Food Pledge signatories for the year 2030: a 25 percent reduction relative to the year 2015. Individual signatories should aim for at least a 25 percent absolute reduction in food-related GHG emissions or a 38 percent relative reduction in food-related GHG emissions per calorie.
  • Calculate a set of metrics to establish baselines and track progress toward the GHG emissions reduction target. This note draws from experience and user testing with more than 30 food providers to recommend metrics that are not only robust and relevant, but also feasible and cost-effective, to measure given commonly available data. The companion calculator includes default land-use and emission factors by region, drawing from two recent global studies, and helps pledge signatories enter and estimate five important metrics:
    1. Food purchases by food type (boneless equivalent, kilograms or pounds)
    2. Food-related GHG emissions from agricultural supply chains, (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent [CO2e])
    3. Food-related land use (hectares)
    4. Food-related carbon opportunity costs (tonnes of CO2e)
    5. Normalized metrics (several possible units of measure)
  • Navigate synergies and trade-offs with multiple sustainability goals. Drawing from these user tests and the relevant literature, this note helps signatories think through ways to make progress toward the Cool Food Pledge GHG emissions reduction targets while also supporting other important environmental, social and ethical, and economic and financial sustainability goals.

Executive Summary

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