What is this tool?

The Up Scorecard is a science-based online tool for selecting healthy and sustainable foodware and food packaging, developed by a multi-stakeholder collaboration.

The Up Scorecard measures commonly used foodware and packaging materials with a single yardstick to offer the first-ever, free, and comprehensive tool for making sustainable purchasing decisions for these products based on the latest available science. Scores are provided for carbon, water, plastic pollution, chemicals of concern, recoverability, and sustainable sourcing. Developed through an unprecedented collaboration of leading food service companies, NGOs and technical experts, the Scorecard provides an authoritative resource for businesses as well as for environmental and human health advocates.

Why is this tool valuable?

With huge purchasing power, this industry could provide a transformative market signal to foodware and packaging manufacturers for more sustainable products. This opportunity remains mostly unrealized today, because food service industry buyers often lack the technical expertise needed to evaluate the wide range of more sustainable solutions amid increasing green marketing claims, such as recyclable, compostable, non-toxic, and low carbon.

The scorecard provides a comprehensive way to assess the sustainability impacts of food packaging and service ware. This free, open-sourced tool backed by sustainability and foodservice leaders brings consistency and transparency to the food packaging and service ware industry. The Scorecard combines life cycle assessment science, published literature, and stakeholder input to create a powerful tool that makes choosing service ware and packaging easier than ever.

How food and packaging purchasers can use this Scorecard

We know that choosing the most sustainable solution for your foodware or packing needs is complicated, but the Scorecard makes it easy. With a few clicks you can compare health and environmental scores for the most commonly used food container options and make the best choice for you, your customers and the planet:

  • Evaluate the sustainable performance of all your container options.
  • Show clients and customers why your choice matters.
  • Enable suppliers to show how their product stacks up against the competition.

Customize to match your container. Or don't.

Food packaging purchasers and the sustainability professionals that work with them struggle to thoroughly review and compare the multiple products relevant to their work. This task is made more complicated by the large number of materials and material combinations in food packaging and the various environmental and health impacts of those products.

This is where the Up Scorecard comes in. Through utilizing the scorecard, purchasers and sustainability professionals can rely on the extensive research and background data behind the scorecard to more easily compare the various materials and material combinations for each product category (cup, bottle, container, etc.) and each impact area (health, climate, sourcing, etc.) to help them make better decisions for the environment and their business.

Material type, product design, sustainability certifications, recycled content, and local recycling and composting options, among many other variables, all influence health and environmental impacts. The Scorecard lets you customize to get the right score for your container. But it also allows you to quickly compare generic options with just a few clicks.

The scorecard can be used at multiple points in the decision making and purchasing process. It can be utilized to compare products/suppliers centrally at the RFP/product assessment stage by using, for example, the “custom” option where manufacturers can fill out the relevant info for their products. When a purchaser has access to multiple products and waste disposable methods at the operational level, the scorecard can be customized for what is locally recyclable/compostable so that the purchaser can pick the product that is more sustainable for their particular location/operation.

Scorecard methodology

We know that choosing the most sustainable solution for your foodware or packing needs is complicated, but the Scorecard makes it easy. With a few clicks you can compare health and environmental scores for the most commonly used food container options and make the best choice for you, your customers and the planet:

  • Evaluate the sustainable performance of all your container options.
  • Show clients and customers why your choice matters.
  • Enable suppliers to show how their product stacks up against the competition.

Core Values

The scorecard was built based on the following set of six core values for the tool to:

  • simplify and enable decision making
  • be science-based
  • incorporate multiple criteria
  • be developed using a multi-stakeholder perspective
  • be and remain dynamic
  • be transparent and open-access

Scoring Methods

Scores are calculated based on both standardized life cycle assessment (LCA) methods and novel qualitative scoring approaches that rate a product's sustainability from production, through use, to end-of-life. The calculations were reviewed and programmed by a team of independent LCA professionals. Where possible, life cycle impact calculations were carried out using the internationally recognized ecoinvent database, which provides peer-reviewed inventory data for thousands of processes. In addition, a wide range of the most recent and publicly available data sources from governments, industry, academia, and NGO research and reporting projects were reviewed to inform the model. Best professional judgement compiled from the multi-stakeholder experts involved in the tool's development were applied to address data gaps and recognize uncertainties.

Impact Areas

Detailed information about each of the 6 impact areas calculated in the scorecard is available on The Six Impact Areas page.

About the SUM Decelerator

The SUM Decelerator is produced by The Lexicon, with support from the Food Team at Google. The Lexicon’s accelerator program brings together food companies, NGOs, scientists, entrepreneurs, and food producers from across the globe to tackle some of the most complex challenges facing our food systems, from regenerative agriculture to food is medicine. Instead of an accelerator for startups or new products, participants design, rapidly prototype, and release tools for change every six months.

Team

The SUM Decelerator features an unprecedented collaboration of leading food service companies, environmental NGOs and technical experts.