Himbeeren und Brombeere

Wholey cares: How do we calculate the CO2 footprint for our products?

Whether with pineapple, dragon fruit or açaí: One Smoothie Bowl a day keeps the doctor away - we agree. But do you sometimes ask yourself when spooning what impact you have on the environment by buying our products? We too. That is why we want to be transparent and share our life cycle assessments with you. In this article you will learn how we at Wholey calculate the ecological footprint of our smoothies, bowls and shots.

First of all, a bit of theory: the CO2e footprint indicates the impact our consumer decisions have on greenhouse gases and global warming. In contrast to the CO2 footprint, the CO2e value (CO2 equivalents) takes into account all climate-relevant greenhouse gases that arise in the life cycle of a product (and not just carbon dioxide). An EPD (Environmental Product Declaration) provides environmental information about a product or service with a standardized data quality.

With the help of life cycle assessments, companies can identify weak points within their value chain and improve processes. Very important: They are not (!) Used to compare products and organizations.

Our mission: to educate

Life cycle assessments are normally only intended for internal use and not for marketing purposes. At this point, once again an express disclaimer: We do not want to advertise with our numbers or compare ourselves. For us, the balance sheet is a tool to help us improve. We want to be transparent and do educational work. That is why we disclose our processes and figures.

This is how we calculate the CO2e footprint

For each product, we have calculated the ecological footprint and the CO2 calculation ourselves in accordance with the DIN ISO 140044: 2006 standard. 

There are databases that can be used to calculate an official EPD. The licenses for the databases, however, cost a lot (approx. € 10,000 - per year and device). That is not in relation to what we want to achieve with our ecological balance. In order to still be able to make a reliable statement, we have built in a safety factor of 0.3 for every calculation, i.e. 30 percent. This life cycle assessment is calculated correctly and correctly in terms of content, but simplified for reasons of cost and benefit and not a standardized EPD. We obtained the data from the databases of the Federal Environment Agency (probas), the EU's ef_datase 2019 on PEF, exiobase 3 2018 and usdata 1901009.

We include the following "stages of life" in calculating the product life cycle assessment:

ingredients: In order to determine the impact of our ingredients, we looked at their production in the respective countries. We have included the influence of the sowing, the influence of agriculture during the growth phase, as well as the processing and preparation for transport in our calculations.

transport: We source some of our ingredients from distant countries. Regionality is not one of our strengths. Yet. Nevertheless, we are constantly trying to improve on this point. 

In addition to the regionality, the seasonality of a product is also decisive for the ecological balance. We harvest and shock-freeze our ingredients to the optimum degree of ripeness. Then we send them to the production facilities. We have taken into account all the transport routes that our ingredients and packaging cover and calculated their impact: 

  • from the country of origin or field to the supplier warehouse 
  • from the supplier warehouse to the production facility
  • from production to the main warehouse
  • from the main warehouse to the distribution warehouse 
  • from packaging production to product production where ingredients and packaging come together

We cannot make any calculations from our partners' sales warehouse to the customer, as we do not have the necessary data. In addition, in the best case scenario, this is determined by our partners themselves and is therefore outside of our system limits.

production: The production of our products - and thus the amalgamation of packaging and ingredients - is included in our calculations, as is the production of the packaging itself. In production, the energy consumption of the filling machines in particular is a factor, in the production of the packaging, the manufacture of the raw material plays a role but also the manufacture of the packaging itself. In addition, there is the energy expenditure for storage. This is higher for the smoothies and smoothie bowls, as they have to be stored frozen. The shots, on the other hand, are stored in the cold store and therefore have a slightly lower impact. Our warehouses are located in Germany, so the German electricity mix is used to calculate the impact.

EoL: Finally, the end of life phase of the packaging is included in the carbon footprint balance. After using our products, the packaging is left over. Disposal and recycling require energy and cause emissions, which in turn has an impact on the CO2e footprint of our product. In our calculations we assumed recycling and disposal in Germany.