The world's first Pesticide Footprint calculator has been unveiled in a collaboration between the corporate foundation of Ecotone, Europe’s leading organic food producer and NGO, the Solagro Association.
Similar to carbon footprint calculation, the pioneering new tool can tell users how many pesticides they are consuming in their everyday foods.
It offers a concrete, simple and quick overview of square metres of land preserved or contaminated by pesticides through the nation’s food choices. More than 30 foods are screened, including the 10 most commonly consumed in the region (cereals, potatoes, wine, sugar, apples, etc.).
The aim is to encourage consumers to make informed choices, thereby helping to preserve biodiversity and protect the ecosystem.
Initially launched in France, the ambition is to create a model that can be rolled out in other international markets.
The pioneers behind the project, Ecotone and agro-practice consultants, Solagro, both have ongoing commitments to biodiversity-positive farming practices – offering effective alternatives for consumers concerned about their health and the environment.
The launch of the pesticide calculator coincides with the new publication of Ecotone’s latest Impact Report. In the report, Ecotone shared an extract from its outstanding B Corp audit, where it was praised for its progress and success on fostering biodiversity preservation. It says the work will have ‘a profound impact on the ability to track pesticides’ and protect ecosystems.
At Ecotone, we firmly believe that preserving biodiversity is both an individual and a collective duty. This Pesticide Footprint Calculator aims to make consumers aware of the real impact of their consumption habits on their health and their environment. By opting for plant-based organic products in particular, we can collectively reverse the current course of events and preserve the richness of our ecosystem today and for future generations.
There are three major changes in our consumption habits, identified in Ecotone’s latest impact report, that can help to protect, grow and cherish biodiversity:
· Eat organic food to reduce the pressure on biodiversity. On average, organically farmed plots contain 50% more animals and 30% more different species.
· Eat more (organic) plants to limit the carbon impact of intensive livestock farming and limit imported deforestation.
· Eat a wide range of species to restore crop biodiversity and the resilience of agrosystems. In fact, only 9 plant varieties (maize, soya, rice, potatoes, wheat, palm oil, cane sugar, beet sugar and manioc) make up the majority of human food.
A reduction in the use of harmful pesticides is more important than ever when considering the rapid decline in global biodiversity (70% of vertebrate animals have disappeared in fifty years, 80% of insects in our fields and 60% of farmland birds have disappeared since the 1980s[4b]). Intensive farming practices and the mass use of synthetic chemical pesticides are recognised as one of the main causes of this decline.
Our next step would be to bring the calculator to a UK audience. Currently the UK lacks the volume of open source data to implement a similar tool – but we’re on a mission to address this for a multi-national rollout once the data becomes available.
The methodology and open-access data that fuels the calculator in France, are based on the work carried out during the launch of the first French Pesticide Map, unveiled by the Ecotone Foundation and Solagro in June 2022. Since then, it attracted 400,000 website visits, which is over 1,000 visits per day.
The Ecotone Pesticide Footprint Calculator is available free of charge at https://www.empreinte-pesticides.com/en/.
Ecotone is the European leader in organic, vegetarian and fair-trade food. It’s mission is to nurture biodiversity through strong, committed brands: Allos, Alter Eco, Bjorg, Bonneterre, Clipper, Destination, Danival, El Granero, Isola Bio, Kallø, Whole Earth and Zonnatura. In 2019, it became Europe’s first multinational food company to obtain B Corp certification. It is now B Corp’s highest scoring multinational food company. Its family of companies is present in 6 European countries and is headquartered near Lyon. It employs 1,600 people and had sales of €690 million in 2022. Through its Foundation, the company supports projects to restore and conserve ecosystems. www.ecotone.bio
Solagro is an association that uses its expertise to support agro-ecological, climate, energy and food transitions. Its multi-disciplinary team of engineers, energy specialists, agronomists, etc. takes a systemic approach to the challenges facing living organisms and the environment, with an overall, long-term vision. With 40 years' experience behind it, Solagro combines engineering, applied research and training skills that complement and enrich each other. It has developed platforms for the exchange of information on agro-ecological practices (OSAE), on biological control through habitat conservation (HERBEA), on the adaptation of farms to climate change (CANARI) and is carrying out extensive work on databases and mapping (Adonis map of pesticides).