Carbon Calculators Compared

What is a carbon footprint? A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide (and often other greenhouse gases) emitted as a result of various activities from a particular person, group, etc, such as fossil fuel combustion. Rather than the greenhouse gas emissions associated with production, carbon footprints focus on the greenhouse gas emissions associated with consumption. It is typically expressed as grams of carbon dioxide equivalent (gCO2e ). Usually we think of this in relation to the emissions emitted from the car we drive, or the heating in our homes, but greenhouse gases are emitted from many other parts in our lives as well, including food. If you’ve perused through our website you’ll have seen that food emits up to a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions (see Figure 1). The majority of food emissions come from the farm and land-use stage, and the emissions from these vary greatly between different food types (see Figure 2). This is why choosing the types of food we eat truly matters when it comes to reducing our personal carbon footprint.

Figure 1 from Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2020) Figure 1 from Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2020) - “Environmental impacts of food production”. Published online at

Figure 2 from Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2020) Figure 2 from Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2020) - “Environmental impacts of food production”. Published online at

Carbon calculators are a tool that help you find out the carbon footprint of your choices. Knowing this puts the impact of our daily choices into perspective, and will hopefully inspire you to find ways to reduce your personal carbon footprint.

Here at Lighter Foodprint, we’re interested in the emissions from our food choices. Have you ever wondered what your carbon foodprint is?

To make your job easier, we’ve compiled and compared some of the most popular free and online calculators!

  1. This carbon calculator by My Emissions calculates your daily food emissions.
  2. The Vegan Society calculates the carbon footprint of individual meals or recipes. You add each ingredient and they’ll calculate.
  3. The BBC calculates the yearly emissions and water use of foods you eat, depending how often you eat them. It also compares the results of the food you chose to other foods providing the same nutrients.
  4. Foodprint tells you how you’re doing on a scale, and provides tips on how you can improve the sustainability of your food choices as a whole.

Our goal with climate labels is to give you this information while you’re making your food choices. We hope that these calculators give you a better idea of how your food choices impact climate change, and inspire you to keep the climate in mind when it comes to eating!

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