A few days ago, I met the head of sustainability for a British retailer, and he said he was conflicted about carbon labeling. There’s a big push here to add a numeric carbon footprint to all consumer products (starting with a big announcement from Tesco last year). It seems like a good disclosure in spirit, and the sheer effort to measure the carbon footprint is a good thing, which leads to ideas on how to reduce that footprint.
But, labeling on packaging is a complicated one for consumers. For one thing, it’s confusing. Do consumers really understand what a 75g carbon label on a bag of crisps means? For another thing, it can create mixed messages like the one in this cartoon.
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But how march carbon will generated figuring out all those carbon footprints?
Beth Nori says
Totally agree. I would actually REALLY like to know the carbon footprint of the products I buy, but you shouldn’t need an Advanced Math degree to figure it out. A while ago my husband suggested a really simple method of “scoring” a product… color coding, and a number coded from 1-5. Keep it simple and it might actually go mainstream! But since we can’t even do that with nutrition labels, I’m not sure we have a lot of hope.