LRQA Limited

The role of carbon labelling in tackling climate change

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Courtesy of LRQA Limited

A new report on carbon labelling has concluded that consumers want reliable, trustworthy information that will help them to make decisions which benefit the environment.  They also want to be able to trust retailers and their suppliers in making some of those decisions for them.

The report, entitled ‘Check-out Carbon’, was produced by Forum for the Future and sponsored by Lloyd's Register. It summarises the findings of a research project designed to explore the role that carbon labelling has to play in delivering a low-carbon shopping basket.

The report highlights the importance of opportunities that exist to reduce carbon emissions as a result of consumer purchasing and in light of the urgency required to prevent climate change, report author Dan Crossley says, 'Carbon labelling is a vitally important tool in helping to reduce carbon in the shopping basket but it is clear that prioritisation is required; we need to deal with the big (carbon) impacts first and not rush headlong into labelling everything.'

The research included a brief survey of 1,000 consumers which revealed that 85 per cent of respondents want more information about the environmental impacts of products. The report was launched at the London headquarters of Lloyd’s Register, an event that attracted some of the UK’s top sustainability and climate change experts.  Contributing panellists included Peter Madden, CEO of Forum for the Future, Euan Murray, Carbon Footprinting General Manager of the Carbon Trust, Terence Ilott, Head Environment, Business and Consumers Division, of DEFRA, Katherine Symonds, Sustainability Manager of Tesco and Ian Hodgskinson, MD of Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance (LRQA), who chaired the event.

Commenting on the reasoning behind LRQA's support at the launch, Ian Hodgskinson, said, “The report highlights the fact that carbon labelling information needs to be available, easy to understand and trustworthy in order for consumers to make the right choices. Lloyd’s Register is a global, truly independent organisation that focuses on building trust through the implementation of management systems such as ISO 14001 and EMAS. We help organisations to improve their green credentials and create brand recognition with customers and stakeholders through transparency and verification. It is logical therefore, for us to be intimately involved in carbon footprinting and labelling initiatives.”

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