BfG News Issue 1 - Expert View: Carbon Labeling

01 May 2007|Added Value

Carbon Labeling
Each month News will invite one of our experts to give us their view on a topical issue. This month we asked Mallen Baker, Development Director, Business in the Community to give us his view on carbon product labeling as the Carbon Trust launch their ‘Carbon Reduction Label’ , attracting brands such as Walkers, Boots and Innocent to be involved in the trial to raise consumer awareness & understanding.
The Carbon Trust invites companies to take part in the scheme and commit to not only report, but to reduce, the carbon impact of their product. If they don’t do this over a two year period the endorsement label will be withdrawn.
But how important is carbon labeling actually going to be in reducing carbon emissions? Do we really think that consumers will switch brands, or maybe begin to abstain altogether from certain products because of the information they receive about the carbon footprint?
The jury is definitely out, since there’s no basis to compare across brands until the mark is much more widely used.  With little point of reference, it’s hard to know whether the carbon footprint of an Innocent smoothie at 294g is good or bad. Few people can really envisage what it means to emit 100g of carbon. The power of an information label lies in persuading manufacturers eventually to buy into it, or ultimately, as the debate moves on over the years, it may even become required.
Carbon labeling is more about readying the way for necessary action than it is about what kind of washing powder you choose to use. Because ultimately, at some point consuming unsustainably will need to be removed as a legitimate consumer choice.
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