A low carbon recipe – ensuring the ‘eaternity‘ of our planet

An interview with Manuel Klarmann, President of the project Eaternity, which aims to raise awareness of the carbon-footprint created from our food, and how to reduce global warming by creating meals that are tasty, healthy and good for our planet. Eaternity received the WWF “Biodiversity and Resource Efficiency” HUB Fellowship in January 2012.


Who are you and what is your project?

My name is Manuel Klarmann and my project is Eaternity, which works to bring climate-friendly food to the table in order to reduce CO2 emissions.

Which problem does Eaternity solve and how will it sustain itself?

Currently, a person’s biggest CO2 footprint comes from the food they eat, with food supply being responsible for approximately one-third of the consumer-related greenhouse gases that are emitted in Europe. This figure is a result of the manufacturing process, seasonality factors, transport and processing. Therefore, changing our diet is probably the easiest and most efficient step we can take to reduce global warming. By making connections between food and climate change, Eaternity helps eaters become more conscious about their food choices.

To sustain our operations, we will generate income by providing attractive services around the implementation of meals that are tasty, healthy, affordable and good for our planet (climate friendly).

Why did you start Eaternity?

It is clear to me that, in order to prevent the devastation climate change would have for humankind and for the environment, we must drastically reduce our levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

While I was a student at the ETH, I realized that people don’t often associate their food intake with CO2 emissions, and that just by making small shifts in what we eat, we can make substantial impact. In doing so, the financial costs of the negative effects of global warming can be reduced by 50%.

It was in realizing this relationship between our food and our climate, and how we have the potential to easily reduce emissions significantly and actually make a difference, that Eaternity was born. It was first brought to life in 2009 at the ETH Physics-Restaurant in Science city.

How has the HUB contributed to Eaternity’s development?

We developed our ideas from 2009 – 2011, and quickly learned that by just by providing information and realizing a few small projects here and there that we would not make considerable impact. We required a framework to grow a professional organization and design a scalable product for partnerships. This way, we can provide a service that consistently enables actual implementation of climate friendly foods and bringing these the meals to the tables. This framework is provided by the HUB.

How can others help you take Eaternity to the next level?

  • Become more conscious of what you are eating. Eat more plant products and pay attention to seasonality and regionality.
  • Support us, so that we can bring more climate friendly menus to the public. Per menu Eaternity saves about 1kg (or 50%) of CO2 compared with the average restaurant menu. Convince your favorite restaurant, canteen or, cook that they should look into this.
  • If you are working for a cooperation, university, city, etc., walk into your CSR office and convince them to utilize Eaternity. We can provide a service that will measurably reduce your emissions.

What’s your biggest learning you want to share with the world?

It takes a lot of courage, to start something on your own. It takes a lot of support from the people around you, to keep you on your path. There are a lot of people who have strong ideas about how the world is run, and what you specifically need to do, in order to be successful. You are the one who needs to make fast decisions on this, specifically keeping in mind, – how you think the world should be run, – and make this part of your solution.

Interview by: Kate Karius, September 2012