Empowering South Africans to Save the Planet, One Meal at a Time
Our Planet
04 April 2024


Empowering South Africans to Save the Planet, One Meal at a Time

Food’s carbon footprint, or foodprint, is the greenhouse gas emissions produced by growing, farming, processing, transporting, storing, cooking and disposing of the food we eat.

In recent years, the conversation around sustainability and the environment has gained significant momentum globally. From reducing plastic waste to adopting renewable energy sources, individuals and communities worldwide are increasingly aware of their impact on the planet. However, one crucial aspect often overlooked is the environmental footprint of our food choices. In South Africa, where culinary diversity is rich and deeply ingrained in culture, educating citizens about the environmental consequences of their food choices can play a pivotal role in mitigating climate change and preserving our planet for future generations.


Understanding the Impact


Every piece of food we consume has a carbon footprint associated with its production, transportation and distribution. Some foods, such as animal products and certain types of seafood, have significantly higher carbon footprints compared to plant-based alternatives. For instance, the livestock industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, primarily due to methane released by cattle and the energy-intensive processes involved in meat production.


Similarly, overfishing not only depletes marine ecosystems but also disrupts the delicate balance of oceanic biodiversity. Unsustainable fishing practices can lead to the collapse of fish populations, threatening food security and disrupting marine ecosystems.


Additionally, the transportation of food over long distances contributes to carbon emissions, especially when considering imported goods. By consuming locally sourced and seasonal produce, South Africans can reduce their carbon footprint and support local farmers and businesses.


Taking Action: Practical Steps for Change

Embrace Plant-Based Eating

Transitioning to a more plant-based diet is perhaps one of the most impactful steps individuals can take to reduce their carbon footprint. Plant-based foods require fewer resources to produce and emit significantly fewer greenhouse gases compared to animal products. Incorporating delicious plant-based meals into your diet can be both nutritious and environmentally friendly.

sustainable fishing

Choose Sustainable Seafood 

Be mindful of the seafood you consume and opt for sustainably sourced options. Consult seafood guides that indicate which species are harvested responsibly and avoid overfished varieties. Supporting sustainable fishing practices helps preserve marine ecosystems and ensures a steady supply of seafood for future generations.

Fresh, Seasonal Produce

Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables not only supports local farmers but also reduces the carbon emissions associated with long-distance transportation. Seasonal produce is often fresher, tastier and more nutritious, providing an added incentive to prioritise locally sourced ingredients.

Support Local Producers

Whenever possible, buy food products and produce from local farmers markets or directly from local producers. This not only reduces carbon emissions from transportation but also fosters community resilience and strengthens local economies.

home garden

Plant Your Own Veggies

Consider starting a vegetable garden in your backyard or community space. Growing your own produce not only reduces your carbon footprint but also promotes self-sufficiency and connects you with the natural world. Even small gardens can yield a bountiful harvest of fresh, organic produce.


By making informed decisions about what we eat, we have the power to reduce our carbon footprint and mitigate the environmental impact of our food choices. Together, we can embark on a journey towards a more sustainable future, one meal at a time. Let’s savour the flavours of South Africa while nourishing our planet for generations to come.


Vodacom has been actively contributing to a healthier planet through various initiatives. Partnering with WWF and SASSI, Vodacom is driving positive seafood choices, promoting sustainability in seafood consumption. Vodacom also tackles food waste by turning it into compost, reducing environmental impact. Find out more about what Vodacom is doing here. These efforts all underscore Vodacom’s commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable development.