Previous post:

Next post:

Carbon Reduction Label

by mel starrs on March 19, 2007

in Uncategorized

Carbon Trust have launched a carbon reduction label:

that demonstrates a commitment from companies to reduce the carbon footprint of their products.

Walkers, Boots and Innocent* have signed up.  The work Innocent have been doing is really interesting.  The carbon footprints of various products:

  • Innocent mango and passion fruit smoothie – 294 grams
  • Apple – 37.5 grams
  • american cheeseburger – 4400 grams

Walker’s Cheese and Onion crisps will be the first on the shelves with a published label (75 grams).  Now you can alleviate the guilt of stuffing your face with crisps by justifying that the carbon footprint is only double that of an apple. Boots Organics shampoo comes out at 148 grams.

I wrote about Tesco’s aspirations on eco-labelling here, and noted that the supply chain would be the key.  Carbon Trust have specified a methodology and Tesco’s seem to be on board: 

For products to carry the carbon label, companies will need to have completed a rigorous carbon analysis of their product supply chains following the agreed methodology, and commit to reducing the carbon level of their product over the next two years.

The initiative has been supported by a wide range of businesses and stakeholders including Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Cadbury Schweppes, Duchy Originals, the Co-operative Group, The Climate Group, the British Retail Consortium, WWF, Green Alliance, Food and Drink Federation and Forum for the Future.

Good to see Tesco are sticking with the pack on this one rather than reinventing the wheel and making up their own methodology (like their food nutritional information labels). 

I was rather dismissive of the usefulness of the labels before.  It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out.  For instance, how will local fruit and veg shops or butchers cope (or compete)?  And how does the label adjust for differing distances travelled by the products?  A bag of Walkers bought in Leicester will have a different footprint to a bag bought in Dundee?

* Innocent have a great blog – a very good example of how to interact using ‘new media’