ECO – LABELLING – WHERE IT STANDS, WHERE TO?

Posted on November 27, 2010 by


As awareness of the dangers of climate change increases, purchasers and consumers of goods and services are interested in becoming better informed regarding the impact of their choices on environment. Carbon labelling can help educate purchasers and allow them to make more informed choices.   Carbon Labelling involves reporting how much greenhouse gases were emitted to manufacture a product. There are several types of Carbon Labelling available.

Carbon labelling began with an initiative taken by Carbon Trust, an organization supported by the UK Government. Carbon Trust was created by UK Government in association with DEFRA (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) to create strategy for low carbon economy and to implement it. The idea has been accepted and implemented by many others. In 2007, Carbon Trust started pilot carbon labelling project that resulted into participation by number of major companies including Walker’s Snacks Ltd., Boot (pharmacy chain), Innocent Drinks and Tesco (UK’s largest retailer). The program has significantly expanded the reach in the last three years and there are now over 5000 products carrying the Carbon Reduction Label. Carbon Trust estimates that these carbon reduction labelled products have about £ 2.7 billion in annual sales.

There are two types of Carbon Trust labels;

Quantified Carbon Footprint Label

It shows the quantity of carbon right on the label.

It indicates that the company has committed to reduce the products’ carbon footprint in partnership with the Carbon Trust. When Carbon Trust label used on the product then it means it commit to reduce carbon footprint in following two years or it will lose the ability to continue to show the label.

 

The standards for Carbon Trust label is based on PAS 2050. It is developed by the British Standards Institute (BSI), UK Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), and the Carbon Trust through extensive consultation with more than 1000 stakeholders from business, NGOs and government.

Are the consumers getting it right?

With so much of effort being done to establish and communicate the carbon footprint of products, the consumers are not always aware of the relevance of these numbers in comparison with say a reference (or competition) product. For example a consumer may not be directly able to compare the impact of 75 g of CO2 for a walkers chip or 800 g for a litre of Tesco’s milk on the environment.

To avoid this confusion, independent labels such as the following are a good way.

Label signifying 20% more carbon efficiency

Eco Label by ClimatopSwitzerland’s top supermarket chain, Migros, has opted for an approach where labels on certain of its private label products confirmed that the product is 20% more carbon efficient than its counterparts within the same category. This system is administered by ‘Climatop’.

 

 

Colour Rating: The climate Conservancy’s “Climate Conscious” Label goes the route of gold, silver and bronze rating, indicating the decreasing order of carbon intensity of the product.

Certified Carbon-free altogether: This label has started to come in use on the products when their carbon footprint is completely neutralized by offsetting actions.

 

One to Ten Rating: The outdoor product maker Timberland, under its ‘Green Index’, rates its products from one to ten (1,2,3,….,…,10) in each of three environmental areas; (1) Climate Impacts (2) Chemicals used and (3) Resource Consumption. The lower the number, the lower the impact and better score.

For example:  In the area of resource consumption, a score zero represent 100% recycled, organic and renewable material content. A score 10 represents absence of recycled or organic or renewable material contents.

Timberland has Green Index on 14 of its products as on August 2010. It aims to have all of its products labelled by the end of 2012.

 

Walmarts’ color or Number –Grade: It’s not yet decided but there is possibility of colour or number –grade as labelling methodology. Since launch in 2007, Walmart has been driving the sustainability index initiative. Colour or Number –Grade label may be use by Walmart’s green label on product program.

About Us

Agneya Carbon Ventures came into existence with the purpose of “To help our clients in understanding, establishing sound Environment Management Systems, and pursuing sustainable business solutions through our various services to abate direct and indirect impact on ecological balance.”

We have worked with companies across sectors enabling them to create carbon accounting, monitoring and reporting systems. We have expertise in the areas of carbon accounting and management, energy management systems, voluntary/compliance carbon markets, environment management and sustainability and carbon branding.

To know more about us, please visit http://www.agenya.in

Shailesh – +91-9890887670 – shailesh@agneya.in

Kedar – +91-9665407848 – kedar@agneya.in

Indrajeet – +91-9028788430 – indrajeet@agneya.in

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Posted in: Sustainability