Australia is joining the UK in using the Carbon Trust’s Carbon Reduction Label, touted as the world’s first carbon label for consumer products.
The Carbon Trust, an organization backed by the UK government, has signed an agreement with Planet Ark, a leading Australian environmental organization, to establish its Carbon Reduction Label in Australia. The first products bearing the label will be available in 2010.
Planet Ark research director Paul Klymenko told The Australian that he targets 5 to 10 percent of supermarket goods carrying the label within five years.
In less than two years, the Carbon Trust’s scheme has earned the support of more than 60 product manufacturers and more than 2,500 UK consumer products from food items to paving stones. Leading brands participating in the program include UK supermarket chain Tesco, Allied Bakeries’ Kingsmill bread and PepsiCo’s Walkers, Quakers and Tropicana.
Most recently, Tate & Lyle, the U.K.-based manufacturer of Splenda, said its cane sugar has a carbon footprint of 380 grams of CO2 per bag, after spending a year analyzing the lifecycle emissions of its sugar refining business, according to a press release.
To earn a carbon label, manufacturers must prove that they have measured a product’s carbon footprint from production to disposal, using an internationally recognized methodology, and that they are committed to reducing it. Continued use of the Label requires proven cuts in the product’s carbon footprint year-on-year, according to Carbon Trust.
In 2008, BSI British Standards, the Carbon Trust and Defra launched a new standard to help businesses assess the carbon footprint of their goods and services. The standard, called PAS 2050, measures the GHG emissions in goods and services throughout their entire life cycle, from sourcing raw materials, through to manufacture, distribution, use and disposal.
Earlier this year, the UK fashion retail market claimed the world’s first carbon footprint label for clothing. Continental Clothing, working with Carbon Trust, launched the Carbon Reduction Label for textile products in March.
Sujeesh Krishnan, the Carbon Trust’s U.S. Business Development Manager, told GreenBiz.com that The Carbon Trust also has a presence in China and the U.S., where it is working with companies such as Coca Cola and PepsiCo.
Krishnan said in the article that U.S. beverage and outdoor industries are working together to create sector guidance on product carbon footprint methodologies using PAS 2050.
In addition, AB19 in California would enact the Carbon Labeling Act of 2009, which would create a voluntary consumer product carbon footprint program that would be managed by the state’s Air Resources Board, reports GreenBiz.com.
Although not part of the Carbon Trust scheme, Japan’s trade ministry announced a uniform method of labeling carbon emissions last year that details each product’s carbon footprint during manufacturing, distribution and disposal. About 30 Japanese companies voluntarily started carrying carbon footprint labels on food packaging and other products beginning in April 2009.