Make Carbon Count
A guide to our carbon label, a nutrition label for the Earth.
There’s a lot that happens to get that salad to your bowl—like a lot, a lot.
Next to every item on our menu, you’ll see its estimated greenhouse gas emissions. That's the environmental impact of growing, producing, and transporting that item to your plate. We call it a Carbon Label. It’s like a nutrition label, but for the planet.
Our carbon footprint labels reflect the estimated emissions from agricultural production and transportation -- what we call "cradle-to-gate". Learn about our methodology here.
Why did we start carbon labeling our menu?
Because we can’t do this without you. 26% of global carbon emissions are created by the food system, fueled largely by our everyday choices. Fortunately, Eating for the Earth doesn’t mean giving up great food.
We believe that the next step in fighting the climate crisis is transparency and traceability. That’s why we’re showing the estimated carbon footprint of every item on our menu and highlighting climate-smart menu options.
How to Read a Carbon Label
On orderjustsalad.com you will see carbon labels displayed beneath the menu item, in units of kg CO2e.
This stands for “kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent”. Carbon dioxide (CO2) accounts for most human-caused greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But there are other greenhouse gases, so these are converted into the common unit CO2e.
Carbon footprint labels on in-store menu boards include the item's recommended dressing.
On orderjustsalad.com, you are able to see the estimated carbon footprint of a salad with and without its suggested dressing.
On the main menu page, the carbon labels (and nutrition facts) do not include the suggested dressing. Once you click on a menu item, the suggested dressing is automatically added, updating the Carbon Footprint and Nutrition Facts on the subsequent page.
For example, on orderjustsalad.com, say the carbon footprint of a salad is 1 kg CO2e. When you click on that item, you will see the salad's Nutrition Facts and Carbon Footprint displayed on the right side of the page. These numbers reflect the suggested dressing.
The dressing can be changed in the DRESSINGS section of this page. The carbon footprint will adjust automatically to reflect changes to your dressing selection.
Just Salad App
The Just Salad app currently displays the estimate carbon footprint of a salad without its recommended dressing. We look forward to making the dressing footprint available as soon as possible.
How much CO2e should I budget for my diet each day?
While there isn’t an established dietary “allowance” for greenhouse gas emissions, trying to reduce your own daily emissions and keeping them below that of the average American diet is a good start.
Today the average carbon footprint of the typical American diet is 4.7 kg CO2e per person per day. Lucky for you, we keep our greenhouse gas emissions pretty low around here. Our menu average is around 0.80 kg CO2e.
How does Just Salad estimate the carbon footprint of its menu?
The short answer: We add up the estimated emissions of each ingredient in our salads based on total portion size, by weight.
We update our carbon footprint estimates when suppliers, portion sizes, or ingredients change, for example. We document these changes here, under Revision Notes.
If you're wondering why some items have higher footprints than others, keep in mind that certain ingredients have more energy-intensive growing and production methods. For example, fruits and vegetables tend to be lower emitters, while animal products are higher. The emissions from transporting food to our stores also have an influence, though transportation generally accounts for less than 10% of a food’s overall carbon footprint.
What are people saying about Just Salad's carbon labels?
Here are some news articles about our carbon labeling work:
- Carbon Labels Are Finally Coming To The Food And Beverage Industry - Forbes
- How to Decarbonize Your Diet & Fix Your Relationship With Food - Thrive Global
- Just Salad to Become First U.S. Restaurant to Label Menu Items with Carbon Footprint - Cheddar
- Enabling Climate-Smart Eating: Lessons from Our Carbon-Labeling Journey - Sustainable Brands
- Just Salad’s Latest Menu Innovation: Adding Your Carbon Footprint to Your Meal - The Spoon
- How Just Salad altered its menu to help solve climate crisis - PRWeek
Eat for the Earth today with our Climatarian menu. Order Now!