Just Salad will become the first U.S. restaurant chain to carbon label its menu.
Just Salad says it will carbon label its entire menu by Climate Week—which begins September 21.
A team of NYU Stern School of Business MBA students will help calculate the carbon footprints.
The chain says its carbon footprint labels will be a core pillar of its sustainability strategy. It also plans to add dairy-free cheese options to its menu by 2022. Vegan cheese has a lower carbon footprint than its animal-based counterpart.
Last year, the chain removed grass-fed beef from its menu, replacing it with Beyond Meat’s plant-based meat. The vegan meat emits 90 percent fewer greenhouse gases than animal-derived beef.
“Our food choices will have a profound effect on the fate of our planet. By carbon labeling our menu, we’re embracing climate-smart eating, helping our guests eat for planetary and human health,” Sandra Noonan, Chief Sustainability Officer of Just Salad, said in a statement.
“A calorie label simply isn’t enough anymore—we need to know how our food choices affect our well-being at a planetary level,” she continued. “Our new carbon labels will provide that insight, helping guests make more holistic choices that take climate change into account.”
Just Salad’s carbon labels are inspired by “climatarianism.” Climatarianism is a way of eating that prioritizes the planet’s health.
Research shows one of the simplest ways a person can reduce their environmental impact is by consuming more plant-based foods.
A study by the University of Michigan and Tulane University found replacing half of all animal-based foods in the U.S. diet with plant-based alternatives could reduce climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions by 1.6 billion metric tons by 2030.
“The work that Just Salad is doing to educate people about their food choices as they relate to planetary health is imperative,” says Sophie Waskow Rifkin. She is the Senior Associate Director for the Center for Sustainable Business at NYU Stern School of Business.
She added: “I’m incredibly proud of our MBA candidates who are passionately dedicated to sustainability. [They] helped Just Salad take this historical step for the betterment of the restaurant industry and our planet.”