Environmental Footprint of Foods: The Duty to Inform

  • Lorenzo Del SavioEmail author
  • Bettina Schmietow


In this paper we argue that there is a duty to inform consumers about the environmental impact of foods, and discuss what this duty entails and to whom it falls. We analyze previous proposals that justify ethical traceability with arguments from sustainability and the respect for the autonomy of consumers, showing that they cannot ground a duty to inform. We argue instead that the duty rests on the right of consumers not to be harmed, insofar as consumers have an interest in the morality of their own agency that is frustrated if they are not informed about the environmental impact of the production and transport of what they consume. Our argument detaches the regulation of labeling from substantive theories of environmental ethics or perfectionist conceptions of citizens’ responsibility, thus defending a case for labeling that is compelling also for those who take the role of the state to be limited to the prevention of harm.


Food Label Autonomy Harm Right Sustainability Consumer 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Istituto Europeo di OncologiaUniversita’ di MilanoMilanItaly

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