Two-thirds of consumers support carbon footprints on product labelling

A global survey of 10,000 consumers has shown universal support for details on a product's carbon footprint to be included on labelling, according to new research from the Carbon Trust.

Two-thirds of consumers support carbon footprints on product labelling

The Carbon Trust’s 2019 survey of 9

The 2020 YouGov survey, commissioned by the Carbon Trust, survey 10,000 consumers across France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US. It found that more than two-thirds (67%) of consumers would support the introduction of carbon labelling on products.

For the UK, 63% agreed with the notion of adding a carbon label, while 51% admitted that they didn’t think about the carbon footprint of products when shopping.

The Carbon Trust’s director Hugh Jones said: “This research aligns with the growth in corporate demand for product carbon footprinting and labelling that we have witnessed over the past year. We know that companies have much to gain by quantifying the carbon footprints of their products and services, a process that gives insight into where they can create efficiencies.

“The sustained and high levels of consumer support for carbon labelling suggests that passing this information on to increasingly well-informed and climate-conscious consumers can also enhance a company’s reputation and market share.”

The Carbon Trust’s 2019 survey of 9,000 consumers across seven countries revealed similar support for carbon footprint labelling to be added to products, either on a voluntary or mandatory basis.

On the rise

Quorn Foods is introducing labels detailing the carbon footprint of its products to some of its most popular lines, as consumer interest in the climate impact of groceries rises. Earlier this month, Allbirds announced that they will become the first fashion brand to label every product they make with a carbon footprint.

The idea of carbon labelling has been around for some time. As early as 2008, Tesco launched a range of 20 products with the Carbon Trust badged with a Carbon Reduction Label, but dropped it in 2012 after other retailers failed to follow suit.

Since the UK Government introduced its 2050 net-zero target, however – and with citizen climate activism growing exponentially over the past 12 months – policymakers and businesses alike are beginning to re-float the carbon labelling discussion.

Late last year, Nestle and Premier Foods both revealed that they are considering adding carbon labelling to their products. The companies have both set internal carbon reduction aims – with Premier Foods targeting a 55% absolute footprint reduction by 2025 against a 2018 baseline, and Nestle aiming for net-zero on a global basis by 2050 – and claim labelling could help engage customers with their efforts.

Matt Mace

Comments (3)

  1. Caroline Aistrop says:

    At the start of the article, the figure for the number of people surveyed is 10,000 but then later it’s quoted as 9,000. Which is it?
    Caroline Aistrop

  2. Matt Mace says:

    Hi Caroline, the 9,000 figure is from the 2019 survey, the 2020 survey featured 10,000 respondents, and the results are largely the same.

  3. Caroline Aistrop says:

    Ah yes, apologies – I didn’t read the article closely enough!
    Best wishes, Caroline

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