ecollective’s Why every Business should Carbon Label their Products

What's a carbon label?

Carbon labels are a simple, single number that tell you the carbon footprint of that product. Nearly everything we do causes carbon emissions and, by default, has a carbon footprint.

Carbon labels tell us what that footprint is.

What's the point in a carbon label?

We’re in a climate crisis and we all need to lower our carbon footprint. The problem is that at the moment no one really knows if what they buy has a large footprint or not.

A carbon label helps to avoid guesswork and false preconceptions. Like food nutrition labels, they tell consumers the carbon numbers in a product. This allows us to make informed decisions on the environmental impact of what they buy.

If you’re making a curry, you may know it’s best to avoid beef, but a carbon label will tell you that prawns have a high carbon footprint too. So it’s better to go for chicken, or ideally veg.

It also helps you track improvements as you start to decarbonise your business.

Why do consumers want carbon labels?

As awareness of and engagement with the climate crisis grows, more and more people want to measure and reduce their carbon footprint. With greenwashing running rife across all industries and increasingly savvy consumers (particularly the infamous Gen Z), numbers are a simple, objective way to communicate your sustainability.

We worked with Which? who found that around half of consumers would choose a more planet-friendly holiday if the option was available.

When so many products claim to be sustainable, how can consumers make a more informed choice? Carbon labelling makes it easy to make sustainable choices.

Here’s an example of carbon labelled holidays from our work with Wilderness Scotland:

But what's in it for my business?

Carbon labelling is a simple, easy way to demonstrate that your company cares. It’s an honest, transparent approach to sustainability. We all have a carbon footprint, putting a label on it tells your customers that you’re taking ownership of yours. As our founder, Charlie, puts it:

“Around 70% of businesses we work with incorporate carbon labelling into their strategy. And it makes sense. If as a business you want to reduce your footprint, you want to make it easier for customers to find your low carbon products.”

Plant-based milk brand, Oatly, has paved the way in the food and drinks industry with their iconic packaging and bold ad campaigns. But carbon labels aren’t just for oat milks – more and more companies are realising it’s not only good for the planet, but also good for business. That’s why carbon labels are here to stay. Big hitter Unilever, who owns Magnum ice cream and Hellman’s mayonnaise, is currently working on introducing carbon labels to its 75,000 products. Many predict that carbon labels will soon be as commonplace as the nutrition equivalents.

Measuring the carbon footprint of each product shows you where you can reduce emissions. Carbon labels can form a key part of your business’ wider carbon reduction plan.

So what do carbon labels actually look like?

Asket include the carbon impact of their clothing products.

Trainline now show the CO2 of each journey.

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