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International Carbon Label Launched

SGS Consumer Testing Services has announced what it calls the first international carbon labeling program for individual products.

The provider of sustainability services says the Product Carbon Footprint program offers marks that can be applied to products manufactured and sold on international markets. The marks display validated environmental claims, with three levels allowing companies to show continuous improvement in reducing and offsetting a given product’s environmental impact, SGS says. The three levels are:

  • SGS Carbon Footprint: Conveys a brand’s environmental commitment by attesting that SGS has calculated the total greenhouse gas emissions over the product’s lifecycle, using internationally accepted standards and listing the results on the label.
  • SGS Carbon Reduction: Signifies that the product’s carbon footprint has been reduced in a 12-month continuous improvement scheme established after the initial carbon footprint calculation.
  • SGS Carbon Neutral: Indicates a significant reduction has been achieved and that remaining emissions have been offset through programs such as renewable energy credit purchase systems run by certified third-party organizations.

SGS says its staff around the world can help companies set up carbon reduction strategies and define attainable targets, to help the organizations achieve the SGS Carbon Reduction and SGS Carbon Neutral marks. Those strategies based on the product lifecycle analysis, can include steps such as raw material reductions, energy management, implementation of best available technologies and supply chain optimization.

The Carbon Trust also runs a carbon label that it describes as internationally recognized.

Environmental Leader columnist Matt Courtland, senior consultant at The Natural Strategy, has described carbon labeling for consumer goods as “a concept full of promise and complexity.” He says the most obvious hurdle to its implementation is defining who will be responsible for measuring carbon emissions, and what standards they will follow.

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