The European Parliament recently approved carbon footprint labeling for goods and services and international business leaders are following the current operational developments with hawks’ eyes. Already there are reports that millions worth of imports from the EU have been affected as a result of carbon neutrality claims. Export potential is believed to further rise as a result of this decision because consumers around the globe have a keen interest in labeled products.
“There’s no delaying this major political and consumer trend”, commented an official of the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development. He predicted that the next step will be shareholders and auditor demands for information about companies’ carbon footprint labeling policies.
The rules, which will also cover imported goods and services, are intended to better inform EU consumers of the carbon footprint of the products they buy from production to disposal. The regulations are part of the Climate Change Interim Report which was adopted with an overwhelming majority of 566 to 61 votes last May. The report has yet to become official law and will be making its way through the legislative bodies next year.
EU policy makers said last month they are now confident that they are on track to meet their Kyoto Protocol target of reducing greenhouse gas by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020.
In shops across Europe there’s little evidence so far that European businesses themselves are hurrying to get the labels printed. Contrastingly, consumers are eager to see the labels. One national UK supermarket, Tesco, has begun labeling 20 products in four categories, detergents, orange juice, potatoes and light bulbs. Research has shown that 70% of all shoppers notice the labels. That should be a wakeup call for businesses to really live up to their green credentials.
Tesco employed the services of Carbon Trust, a UK government organization which completed a wide scale carbon footprinting project last March.