With global populations increasing at an unprecedented rate, it is becoming of increasing concern to device a diet that feeds billions of people in a sustainable way. Indeed, food production is responsible for a wide range of negative environmental impacts, which include amongst others greenhouse gas emissions, water and crop use, water pollution (eutrophication), air pollution (acidification), and biodiversity loss. To mitigate these negative environmental impacts conscious choices about what foods we want to harvest and consume must be made. 

kg of CO2 emissions per kg product of different food products

A perhaps inconvenient truth is that livestock farming specifically has severe, detrimental impacts on the environment. Meat and dairy production and consumption contributes to 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is more that all emissions from planes, ships, cars, and all other forms of transport combined (Poore and Nemecek, 2019)

kg of CO2 emissions per kg product of different meat groups

DGTL is well-aware of the associated environmental impacts of food production. In an attempt to minimize these, the festival has been serving vegetarian food since 2016. Below you can see the CO2 impact of DGTL’s meat-free menu in comparison with a menu serving the same food along with hamburgers for just 10% (!) of the festival’s visitors. While adding 4,000 hamburgers to a menu might not seem significant, the resulted CO2 emissions will certainly surprise you.

kg of CO2 emissions per kg associated with DGTL's menu

Find out what the carbon footprint of a meat menu is by clicking here !

DGTL (2020)

In 2019 DGTL went one step further by introducing the world’s first circular food court where composting technology was able to turn disposables and leftovers into compost within 24 hours. Subsequently, the compost was distributed amongst partner urban farmers who were then responsible for growing food products for next year’s meals. In doing so, DGTL is attempting to close its organic material flow, and therewith aspiring to achieve zero food-waste.  

So what else can DGTL do to improve its food system? Well, even though DGTL’s circular food court is nothing less than impressive, the festival can go one step further by introducing a completely plant-based menu! A kg of cheese can be up to five times as carbon-intensive as the same weight of peppers, and could for that reason perhaps be substituted with food products derived from plant sources.