Climate Mitigation by Dietary Choices: The Carbon Footprint of Tofu
We utilized SimaPro 8.0 software to calculate the GHGEs with global warming potential (carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O)) following the Traci 2 life cycle impact assessment (LCA) methodology with 100 years horizon. To calculate the GHGEs we used cumulative data provided by a tofu manufacturer that contained all the inputs needed to produce tofu (soybeans, transportation, packaging materials, electricity, gas and water), including office operations. The GHGEs are expressed as CO2 equivalents (CO2eq). Our functional unit was 1 kg of tofu and 1 kg of protein. The LCA boundaries are from the cradle (farm production) to factory gate.
Producing 1 kg of packaged tofu generates 0.622 kg CO2 eq. Producing 1 kg of protein from tofu generates 6.22 kg CO2 eq. Comparatively, the GHGEs reported by SimaPro for producing beef round fresh at the warehouse generates 43 kg of CO2 eq per kg of beef and 184 kg of CO2eq per kg of protein from beef.
Tofu is a protein rich food with a low greenhouse gas footprint when compared to beef; therefore, it is a food that can be considered as part of climate change mitigation plans that reduce GHGEs through implementing alternative dietary choices.
Learning Areas:Environmental health sciences
Compare the greenhouse gas emissions generated from protein rich foods. Describe one way to mitigate climate change through dietary choices.
Keyword(s): Food Security, Climate and Health
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am lead life cycle assessment analyst and research team member of the Adventist Health Study, a cohort of 100,000 subjects. Recently we published the greenhouse gas emissions generated by diverse dietary patterns (Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jun 4;100(Supplement 1):490S-495S). I have extensive experience in assessing the environmental impact of foods.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.