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.
A survey of 10,000 consumers across France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US has found that more than two-thirds (67%) of consumers would support the introduction of carbon labelling on products.
The 2020 YouGov Survey, which was commissioned by the Carbon Trust, also found that half (51%) of consumers admitted they didn’t think about the carbon footprint of products when shopping.
This survey follows the announcement that vegetarian and vegan food manufacturer, Quorn Foods, is introducing labels detailing the carbon footprint of its products on the most popular lines. This is not the first company to communicate carbon footprint in the face of growing consumer interest in sustainability, Tesco and Walkers have both had products with the carbon footprint information included on packaging but removed it after a short period of time.
Previously, carbon footprint labelling has been an intricate process, limiting the reliability of conclusions and making it an arduous process to calculate, however many companies across supply chains are beginning to report their own CO2 emissions. Secondary and generic data that can be used from beginning to end of products is now much easier to access, shipping information and environmental impact of packaging choices can all be included to give a better idea of the environmental impact of a product.
Since the UK Government introduced its 2050 net-zero target, combined with growing citizen climate activism, policymakers and businesses are beginning to consider the carbon labelling discussion and understand that these factors are informing consumer decision making.
In 2019 Nestle and Premier Foods both announced they were considering adding carbon labelling to their products, with both setting internal carbon reduction aims and hoping to engage customers with their efforts.
Jimmy Dorrell, head of sustainable business at Clarity Environmental, welcomed the result of the survey but emphasised the need for careful consideration of overwhelming consumers with packaging labelling.
“As part of OPRL we know that clear and concise labelling is helpful to ensure packaging materials enter the correct recycling streams. It is encouraging to see results of these surveys indicate public support for further information about the environmental impact of their buying choices, but we have to ensure it is a simple message.
“Making sure our members can communicate to consumers about recyclability of their packaging is important to us, which is why we are members of OPRL. We can also assist in carbon footprint assessment of packaging materials used, to ensure the most sustainable packaging decisions can be made.”
We are able to provide our packaging compliance members with guidance around the packaging they use, including the carbon impact of packaging materials, ensuring they are able to make the most informed decision when looking at environmental considerations of materials.