Carbon footprint labels are spreading

First, Tesco introduced carbon footprint labels on 70,000 of its products including orange juice, potatoes, energy-efficient light bulbs, and detergent. The plan was developed in conjunction with the British Carbon Trust (a private company set up by the British government). Then the French retailer Casino followed. Now Japan has announced plans to launch carbon labels next year. Unlike in Europe, the Japanese Trade Ministry is overseeing the project, which will include some of Japan’s largest retailers including Aeon Corporation of Japan, Seven & I Holdings, and Sapporo Breweries.

Sapporo has already affixed labels to some of its products, like the one below. Since grams of carbon don’t mean much to consumers, we think a simpler labeling scheme that tells how this product compares with other similar products (like energy star labels) would be a better approach.

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