6 July 2012

EC to propose carbon label based on current energy grading system

The European Commission is likely to propose a carbon dioxide emissions label similar to that of the current energy efficiency label, according to a report by The label will take into account the overall carbon footprint (the total set of greenhouse gas emissions released) of the product, allowing consumers to quickly evaluate the CO2 that has been emitted during manufacture, use and disposal.

In a survey the EC found that the current energy efficiency labels were “quite familiar to consumers”, as well as being easily understandable. “This approach could simplify the way in which the information is delivered, without requiring a simplistic approach,” said Joe Hennon, spokesman for Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik. Although condensing the complexity of Life-Cycle Assessment to a coded label may be challenging, a recently conducted analysis by the European Commission found that straight-forward labelling is key to affecting consumer behaviour.

The study concluded that too many environmental indicators confuse consumers, information should come from a trusted and ideally third-party source (not the manufacturer), and that general terms for indicators and simpler rating systems and units of measurement are better than technical descriptions. It was also noted that information should be provided at the point of purchase for maximum impact on behaviour.

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