2050Today - Guidelines

Climate action on Food

Food accounts for 28% of the environmental impact of consumption in Switzerland, ahead of housing (24%) and mobility (12%). Therefore, restaurants and food industry actors (producers, processors, suppliers, etc.) have a crucial role to play in safeguarding the future of our planet. The daily choices of catering professionals can have massive consequences on various aspects of sustainable development such as: greenhouse gas emissions (in particular CO2) and their impact on the climate, loss of biodiversity, water pollution, soil degradation, waste, animal welfare, working conditions, food safety and health. The catering industry, whether commercial or institutional, serves a considerable volume of meals every day, which means that it has certain responsibilities towards its partners and customers, as well as citizens and the environment. These responsibilities include preparing dishes that respect consumers and the planet. It is important to incorporate the principles of sustainable development into all aspects of the restaurant business, and to champion these principles in their relations with all partners and customers.

The 2050Today Charter recommends institutions to take action towards the following Food and Catering objectives when defining their action plan.

1. Sourcing sustainable products

2. Promoting healthy and nutritionally balanced food

3. Preventing food waste

4. Reducing food packaging

5. Running sustainable food and catering facilities


The topics addressed are based on the recommendations of the Federal Office for the Environment for sustainable institutional catering (2020).

Objectives and Tools

You will find below the 8 thematic objectives of the 2050Today Charter corresponding to the Food sector and suggestions for corresponding actions. Based on an initial assessment, each institution should set its own specific actions to develop and implement its Action Plan. The selected actions will allow the definition of an individual action plan to meet tailored targets by 2025, 2028 and 2030. In order to carry out the assessment of the initial situation and define the individual action plan, a thematic measurement table on food is provided as tool.

Click on the bullet points for quick access

Management objectives

Objective 1 - Establishing management measures to ensure the action plan implementation​

Effective governance ensures that food management strategies are well-designed, properly implemented, and continuously improved. Governance provides a structured approach to strategic planning in sustainable nutrition management. It involves setting clear goals, defining roles and responsibilities, and outlining the steps needed to achieve CO2 emission reduction targets.


  • Implement a steering group
  • Assign a food sustainability manager (responsible for origin of food and packaging, consumption and consultation on food sustainability projects)
  • Define a reiteration schedule to update internal sustainability policy over time

Objective 2 - Monitoring sustainability over time​

In order to establish a long-term approach to sustainability, objectives must be formalized at the institutional level and made public. This allows the approach to be formalized with employees, consumers and suppliers, and to be perpetuated independently of staff changes. These efforts should also serve to raise awareness among all stakeholders.


  • Publishing “SMART” sustainability goals along with the action plan and the results of monitoring these goals
  • Determining and documenting a method for monitoring these goals
    Informing annually on sustainability achievements and monitoring of the action plan in place to reach the sustainability goals
  • Reporting on each set target year (2025, 2028, 2030) on the progress achieved in individual action plan, using this table or any other internal or external audit tool

Objective 3 - Championing change and involving all stakeholders​

We want to make all our customers aware of the challenges of sustainable food and give them the opportunity to take action. This starts with offering relevant information and implementing awareness-raising initiatives.


  • Displaying environmental information on menus to inform consumers and give them the opportunity to choose the most environmentally friendly dish possible
  • Raising consumer awareness about the environmental impact of the meals served by displaying timely information (web page, screens, internal communication, themed day/week, etc.)

A helpful tool is the Beelong Calculator, an online tool to support kitchen chefs in creating recipes and assessing their environmental impact, together with reporting tools and access to an extensive database of products

Thematic objectives

Objective 4 - Sourcing sustainable products

4.1 Favouring seasonal products​

Seasonality refers to the natural production cycle of fruit and vegetables in their country of agricultural production. This means a “seasonal” product is not grown in an artificially heated greenhouse. However “seasonality” does not necessarily mean “regionality”. During winter for instance you can easily find Swiss tomatoes produced in heated greenhouses, hence local but out of season.

When talking about seasonality, we can differentiate between two categories of fruit and vegetables:

Fruits and vegetables that can be grown locally: in this case, one should consume them according to the local natural cycle as much as possible, and refer to seasonal calendars.

Fruit and vegetables that cannot be grown locally: these are mainly exotic products that are rarely grown in heated greenhouses.

Frozen, dried and canned Swiss fruit and vegetables can be considered “in season”, as they are rarely grown in heated greenhouses for this type of processing.


  • Favouring the purchase of fruit and vegetables not grown in heated greenhouses
  • Reducing the consumption frequency of exotic fruit and vegetables (i.e. products that cannot be grown in Switzerland, including juices)
  • Favouring local seasonal fruit and vegetables

4.2 Favouring local production

It is key to promote food traceability. “Regional” and “local” produce benefits from shorter transport routes and therefore is fresher. Agricultural raw materials originate from the region, i.e. they are grown, raised or fished in the region. However, the term “local” does not refer to the place where the product is processed, prepared and packaged.

In general, origin is an often-available information on whole food products. However, the more the product is processed and composed of multiple ingredients, the harder it is to maintain traceability. From an environmental standpoint, taking origin into account involves acting on:

  • The distance travelled by raw materials (number of kilometres)

  • The mode of transport (proximity reduces the need for air transport)

  • The method of production (via the agricultural legislation governing food production:

“Prestations Écologiques Requises” ou “PER” in Switzerland): the more we favour regional and local products, the more rigorous the growing/farming conditions can be


  • Favouring the purchase of regional/local products grown, raised, fished and processed in Switzerland.
  • Avoiding products imported by air.
  • Clearly indicating the origin of meat and fish on the menu and/or on a separate display (art. 5b of the DFI Ordonnance).
  • Favouring products with good raw material/ingredient traceability.

4.3 Favouring organic production

Agricultural modes of production encompass different aspects such as cultivation methods (management of fertilisers and plant protection products, soil and water management, maintaining biodiversity) or farming methods (animal welfare, use of resources, greenhouse gas emissions), and have an impact on working conditions.


  • Favouring organic food labels that guarantee high environmental standards in production methods, in particular, organic labels recommended by official guides (in order of importance):
    • Bourgeon Bio (Swiss and imported products)
    • Demeter (Swiss and imported products)
    • EU Organic / AB bio (imported products)

A full description of each of these labels is available on labelinfo.ch.

4.4 Favouring high standards of animal welfare

Sustainable diets go together with animal welfare. Favour animal products from farming programmes that take animal welfare into account, as much as possible.


  • Favouring free range (not battery cage or barn) eggs and poultry
  • Favouring the SST programme (Swiss territory) or equivalent: cattle, horses, goats, pigs, rabbits, poultry (hens and roosters for egg production, broiler chicken, turkeys)
  • Favouring the SRPA programme (Swiss territory) or equivalent: cattle, horses, goats, sheep (sheep >1 year old), pigs, poultry, deer and bison
  • Exclude critical detention conditions (imported poultry and eggs raised in cage, beef and veal from feed lots, etc.)

As well as favouring products from organic farming, a mode of production particularly respectful of animal welfare (space and infrastructure available, feed, treatment, life span, transport and slaughter conditions, etc.).

4.5 Favouring sustainable fish and shellfish

The priority is to prevent the degradation of marine ecosystems and loss of biodiversity. A “sustainable” fishery product means that the species is not threatened by overfishing, that the fishing techniques are respectful of the ecosystem (e.g. seabed, bycatch), and that the maturity length is respected.

Even though they often represent only a small share of total purchases, fishery products are absolutely critical when it comes to environmental impact. Some species are endangered because of overfishing (i.e. too many fish are taken in the timeframe it takes for the species to replenish itself, or maturity lengths are not respected), or because of harmful fishing techniques (habitat destruction, bycatch, etc.)


  • Eliminating the purchase of endangered species and species that have been farmed or fished in a way that does not comply with official practice guides (WWF, Ethic Ocean)
  • Favouring the MSC and Friends of the Sea (FOS) labels for wild-caught fish, and the ASC or Organic labels for farm-raised fish

4.6 Favouring fair trade production (for exotic products)

When buying Swiss seasonal products is not possible, especially for products coming from far away (typically exotic fruits, but also coffee, tea, rice, orange juice, etc.), some labels guarantee more respect for the environment and people. For these exotic products.


Favouring the following labels:

  • Bourgeon Bio (also ensures compliance with social criteria) and EU Organic labels
  • Max Havelaar label
  • UTZ Certified label


More details on these labels’ specifications are available on labelinfo.ch

Objective 5 - Promoting healthy and nutritionally balanced food

5.1 Diversifying protein sources and cutting down on animal products

Consuming sufficient protein from multiple sources is essential for a balanced diet. However, eating too many animal products puts tremendous pressure on natural resources, the climate, animal welfare as well as our health. Consuming animal proteins sparingly while adding a bigger share of plant proteins is the key to healthier and more ecological and ethical meals.


  • Favouring plant proteins (e.g. vegetables).
  • Clearly labelling vegetarian and vegan dishes as such, in a visible and attractive way, and generally setting a lower price for these menu items compared to meat dishes.
  • Training cooks on vegetarian cuisine and making staff aware of the impact of excessive consumption of animal products on the health and the environment.
  • Setting up an incentive mechanism to reduce consumer demand for meat (e.g. special communication on a vegetarian dish such as “low carbon”, more attractive prices for vegetarian dishes, special communication to raise awareness on the environmental impact of meat, etc.).

5.2 Respecting the nutritional balance of dishes and promote the health of consumers

A healthy diet, i.e. a balanced and varied diet, helps to prevent diet-related diseases. But today in Switzerland, many people consume too much salt, sugar and fat. This promotes diseases such as diabetes and obesity, or cardiovascular problems. To counter this, various national and international institutions issue recommendations on nutritional intake.


  • Offer a varied diet respecting the quantities prescribed by the Swiss Society of Nutrition according to age.
  • Avoid highly processed products and large amounts of sugar, salt, and food additives such as preservatives, flavour enhancers and colourings.
  • Use fats of good nutritional quality such as rapeseed oil and olive oil, and respect the prescribed quantities.
  • Offer dishes with the following distribution: 2/5 vegetables, 2/5 starchy foods and 1/5 protein foods.
  • Ensure easy access to tap water.

Objective 6 - Preventing Food Waste

6.1 Strategies to reduce food waste

In Switzerland, 28% of the environmental impact is related to food. However, a large share of the food produced is not even consumed: this is known as food waste. It occurs at various stages of the food chain, from primary production to processing, sale and consumption. Food waste equate to a loss of valuable resources (agricultural land, water, energy, plant protection products, fertilisers) but also of money and labour. And it is a source of unnecessary and avoidable pollution.


  • Measuring the amount of food waste on a regular basis, identifying its origin and setting reduction targets.
  • Avoiding the use of plated food to illustrate dishes.
  • Avoiding leftovers and plate returns by purchasing, cooking and serving the right quantities according to the Swiss Society of Nutrition’s guidelines.
  • Favouring single plate dishes rather than buffets, as they generate more food waste.
  • Implementing actions to donate leftovers or sell leftovers at a reduced price.


  • Tracking consumption history
  • Installing connected bins (e.g. Kitro) or waste tracking applications (Foodways, Waste Tracker)

Objective 7 - Reducing food packaging

7.1 Reducing food packaging by eliminating externally bottled beverages

The main purpose of packaging is to ensure the preservation of food (and thus to prevent food waste as much as possible). However, much of the packaging can be avoided, especially for bottled beverages. It is also worth noting that for food products the environmental impact of food production is much greater than that of packaging, but for beverages it is often the opposite.


  • Avoid bottled water and using tap water instead.
  • Eliminate externally bottled sodas in favour of drafts or in-house machines.
  • Allow only reusable bottles and cups

7.2 Avoiding all single-use containers (takeaway)

With the huge increase in takeaway food and drinks, the amount of waste has become a growing concern. Non-renewable resources such as sand (needed to produce glass), aluminium (cans) or oil (plastic) are overexploited and often extracted in unsustainable conditions. Most of this waste is difficult to recycle, and a source of great pollution once in nature.


  • Promoting drinking water from the tap
  • For on-site catering: banning single-use containers and cutlery for both food and drinks
  • For takeaway catering: provide reusable containers and cutlery available (deposit scheme or sale of containers) for both food and drinks, and encourage the use of personal containers
  • For unavoidable single-use containers: using as much paper/cardboard as possible (if possible FSC certified and/or recycled)

7.3 Avoiding single-use consumables and favouring recycled materials

Single-use consumables such as straws, napkins, chopsticks, coasters, etc. can add up to significant volumes.


  • Use only recycled or recyclable paper.
  • Eliminate single-use consumables
  • Ban single-use straws and stirrers.

Objective 8 - Running sustainable food and catering facilities

8.1 Reducing energy and water consumption in kitchens

Energy costs in kitchens are relatively low compared to other expenses relating to staff, produce or rent. However, the savings potential is high – up to 40% –, and can easily be implemented with the right guidance and small changes in behaviour. Almost half of the energy savings can already be achieved with modern technology. Correct use of equipment can also lead to massive savings, for instance by switching off equipment during periods of inactivity.


  • Training employees on environmental and energy issues to ensure efficient use of equipment and avoid unnecessary waste.
  • When renovating or building a new kitchen: calculating and comparing energy and water consumption to find an environmentally friendly solution and reduce long-term operating costs.
  • When purchasing new equipment: choose the most energy and water-efficient appliances according to the resources listed below.
  • Favouring induction cooktops.
  • Choosing smart appliances, such as vending machines and beverage fridges with an automatic standby mode outside of operating hours (if the food is non-perishable).


  • The energy and water consumption calculation tools as well as databases of ENAK in Switzerland and HKI in Germany
  • The topten.ch and compareco.ch guide to choosing the most efficient appliances
  • The energy label, which indicates the efficiency class by type of appliance
  • Financial support programmes via ProKilowatt and Energifranken
  • PEIK, which offers professional energy advice, with up to 50% support from SuisseEnergie.

8.2 Favouring environmentally friendly cleaning products

Cleaning products include hand soaps, dishwashing products, laundry and cleaning products. These are not harmless, neither for the environment nor for health: micropollutants can contaminate lakes, rivers and groundwater. Furthermore, many of these products can cause respiratory problems or skin irritations, for instance. Some substances are also harmful to the microorganisms that treat wastewater.


  • Using hand soaps and cleaning products that meet the requirements of European ecolabels, such as the EU Ecolabel, Blue Angel, Ecocert, or equivalent.
  • Reducing the quantity of product required by only using the right amount.
  • Avoiding the use of sprays as much as possible, as they are especially harmful to the health and the environment.
  • Avoiding the following products: drain openers, bleach, toilet blocks, disinfectants, deodorants, disposable cleaning wipes, etc.

Assessment and Action Plan Tool

The Assessment and Action Plan Tool suggests actions corresponding to the 8 Food sector objectives of the Charter as a reference for an Action Plan definition. Based on an initial assessment, each institution should adopt its own actions, and develop and implement its own action plan in order to meet its own targets by 2025, 2028 and 2030.


The proposed objectives and actions are non exhaustive examples and are listed according to the Impact indicator priority with suggested targets :


Level 1 : Maximum priority

Level 2 : Highly important

Level 3 : Recommended


This way of defining environmental and social priorities is the one proposed by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), 2020, Recommandations pour des achats publics responsables dans le domaine de l’alimentation.

Food Assessment and Action Plan Tool

2050Today Charter © 2023 by 2050Today is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0