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Gay, Anne-Sophie, 2022. A study of climate labels’ promise to redefine the climate impact of the restaurant industry : a case study of Klimato. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



Purpose Collective efforts are needed to reach these ambitious goals to change the status quo to combat climate change. As the food industry accounts for more than one-third of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, it is one of the single largest contributors to climate change. Strategies for reductions of CO2e (equivalent) emissions must be put in place to regulate the impact the food systems have on the climate. It is namely in restaurants where environmental communication by use of climate labels sharing information on carbon footprints can help reduce GHGs emissions on a systemic scale. Aim The aim is to gain insights and study how the label, as a communication tool, influences the meaning of what is a climate-friendly restaurant and its capacity to bridge the gap between knowledge, awareness, and action. This aim will be addressed with the following research questions; What are the motivations for restaurants’ employees to adopt climate-friendly behaviour with the Klimato label? How does the use of the Klimato label influence the decision for restaurants to track their carbon footprint overtime, communicate the carbon footprint of dishes, and adapt menus to be more climate friendly? Method This study is based on a case study of the Swedish startup Klimato and their climate labels. The data was collected with eight semi-structured interviews made with video communication with three restaurant chains and four Klimato employees. Analysis The data collected via the interviews were examined using an inductive thematic analysis to identify key themes. The interpretative approach used was the transcending transmission approach to communication that helps gain insights into both instrumental and constitutive communication dynamics. The theoretical approach for analysis chosen for this study is ‘symbolic interactionism’ as it can help untangle those constitutive aspects of environmental communication surrounding climate labels to analyse the process of meaning-making through its use, co-creation and interpretation. Results and discussion The analysis brought forward four main themes; First, the role of communication and interaction between Klimato and the restaurants in defining and shaping climate-friendly restaurants. Secondly, the interactions between the scientific data accessible in Klimato’s tool and the restaurants. Thirdly, the diverse implications of sustainability marketing for motivating climate actions and what they look like. And finally, climate actions and how they are being apprehended and implemented by the restaurants. The promise of Klimato’s climate labels was discussed by both elaborating on sociocultural dynamics, sustainability marketing and activism forces and impulses influencing the motivations for restaurants to use Klimato’s tool. I then discussed the capacity to transcend information into action through collaboration, and inclusiveness to overcome fear, greenwashing, and detachment. Conclusions This thesis found that restaurants have both an interest to implement climate labels in their business for the survival of their companies, as well as an intrinsic desire to be a company that take actions for the planet because of the restaurants’ employees’ convictions. However, restaurants find themselves in a tricky situation where they can be damned if they take ‘wrong’ actions that can be considered greenwashing, and damned if they do nothing. It is in that context that Klimato gains value as a tool that enables restaurants to legitimise their actions, build them and communicate them in a way that makes restaurants resilient and evolves as science and regulations do.

Main title:A study of climate labels’ promise to redefine the climate impact of the restaurant industry
Subtitle:a case study of Klimato
Authors:Gay, Anne-Sophie
Supervisor:Bergeå, Hanna
Examiner:Mutter, Amelia and Holmgren, Sara
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2022
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NM026 Environmental communication and management - Master's programme
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:carbon footprint, climate labelling, restaurant, climate action, environmental communication
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Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Nature conservation and land resources
Deposited On:05 Jul 2022 09:09
Metadata Last Modified:08 Jul 2022 10:59

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