Consumers informed on ethical choices

Consumers in the UK will soon be able to read information on food miles and energy consumption, as plans for putting carbon labels on goods and services make headway.

A standardized method to measure GHG emissions in products and services is being developed by the Carbon Trust and Defra, together with BSI British Standards, it was announced earlier this week.

"More and more, businesses are looking for ways to reduce their impact on the environment. To help them achieve that we need a reliable, consistent way to measure these impacts that businesses recognise, trust and understand," said Ian Pearson, Climate Change and Environment Minister.

"This is important work and will be fundamental in our efforts to move Britain towards a low-carbon economy in the decades ahead."

The aim of this work is to develop an agreed method for measuring embodied GHG emissions. This will be effective for the likes of major retailers including Tesco and Marks & Spencer who earlier this year committed to developing a system of carbon footprint labelling.

The standardized system of labelling would allow retailers and their supply chains to measure the GHG related impacts of their products and reduce them.

Once completed, the single standard will ensure a consistent and comparable approach to supply chain measurement of embodied GHGs across markets, with the aim of helping companies understand the life- cycle climate change impacts of their products and highlight significant emissions reduction opportunities.

The intention is that this is the first step in moving towards an internationally agreed standard for measuring embodied GHG emissions.

Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust said: "Our work to date on carbon footprinting shows that there is real appetite amongst business to tackle the indirect emissions from their supply chains and to offer clear information to consumers on the carbon impact of their products and services.

"In order for even more businesses to use this approach it is essential that we develop one universally accepted methodology."

Dana Gornitzki


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