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Product Carbon Footprinting schemes and standards Katharina Plassmann Contact:

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Presentation on theme: "Product Carbon Footprinting schemes and standards Katharina Plassmann Contact:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Product Carbon Footprinting schemes and standards Katharina Plassmann Contact:

2  a carbon footprint is the sum of all greenhouse gases (GHGs) released during the life cycle of a good or service  GHGs included: CO 2, N 2 O, CH 4, other GHGs (CFCs, halons, methyl bromide, sulphur hexafluoride, mono/di/trichloromethane…)  expressed as CO 2 equivalents per unit of product  based on life cycle thinking, but includes only the climate change impact Carbon footprinting & labelling

3 Aims of product carbon footprinting 1) reduce GHG emissions and prioritise GHG reduction opportunities 2) provide a benchmark 3) identify cost saving opportunities 4) incorporate GHG emissions into decision making, e.g. sourcing, product design, choice of raw materials 5) compare between supply chains and products 6) demonstrate corporate/environmental responsibility 7) meet consumer demands for information on GHG emissions, either via product labels or other means (e.g. websites) 8) opportunity for increased consumer information and understanding

4 Public and private initiatives  PAS 2050 and Carbon Reduction Label (UK)  International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO)  World Resources Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development  Grenelle II Law, Agency for the Environment and Energy Management (ADEME) (France)  Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Japan)  Carbon Reduction Label (Thailand)  Stop Climate Change (Germany)  KRAV and Svenskt Sigill (Sweden)  Casino (France)  Leclerc (France)  Migros (Switzerland)  Industry Association initiatives, e.g. International dairy industry

5 Different approaches and communication

6 Numerical communication  e.g. PAS 2050 and Carbon Reduction Label  communicates results as precise figures of CO 2 equivalents  commitment to reduce GHG emissions within 2 years  every product can apply for the Carbon Reduction Label => seen as encouragement for all businesses to reduce GHG emissions  consumer education and choice

7 ‘Climate champion’ approach  e.g. supermarket chain Migros  only the best products within in a product category are labelled  no communication of precise figures  consumers are guided to the most climate friendly products, but they do not know which products were analysed

8 Climate certification initiative  e.g. Krav and Swedish Seal (Svenskt Sigill) in cooperation with major food companies  certification scheme that has to be used in addition to other sustainability certification schemes  guarantees to the consumer that improvements have been made across the entire supply chain  no actual calculations but rules on reducing emission hotspots  no communication of precise figures

9 Methodological and practical issues  schemes vary greatly in approach and methodology applied, e.g. system boundaries  data issues: uncertainties surrounding emission factors lack of emission factors, esp. for developing countries use of different databases for secondary data data quality and representativeness  the impact of these differences is difficult to judge because the details of the calculations are rarely reported  cost of calculation and verification can be high  low comparability of studies (between products & countries of origin)  companies might have to comply with multiple labelling initiatives for different markets  costumers might be confused by the multitude of labels

10 Carbon footprinting of tropical products

11 Product carbon footprinting and developing countries  Scientific understanding of emissions from agricultural production systems around the world incomplete, esp. developing countries.  Schemes are mainly designed and applied in industrialised countries.  Lack of knowledge on emissions from developing countries means these systems might not be represented adequately.  There are fears of trade restrictions resulting from carbon labelling and carbon taxes.

12 Objectives of research  to assess the difficulties that less developed countries may have in meeting the demands posed by different schemes  to provide recommendations for development-friendly carbon labelling

13 Greenhouse gas emissions (%) from sugar cane production at the farm gate in Zambia (A,B,C) and Mauritius (D) (following PAS 2050 methodology) 207 9164 26Total kg CO 2 e/t sugar cane

14 Land use change  can dominate carbon footprints  potential difficulties in choosing the correct pre- conversion vegetation type  large ranges of major input variables  more likely to be an issue for developing countries than industrialised countries  worst case scenario approach can greatly over-estimate land use change emissions but encourages better documentation of origins

15 Currently developing countries often are...  a long way from markets  highly dependent on export of food  exporting commodities and unprocessed foods  deficient in relevant data and information  suffering from need to incorporate land use change in calculations  subject to numerous carbon footprinting methodologies  unvisited by carbon footprinting consultants  suffering from low and variable yields  providing food at the farm gate with lower carbon footprints than developed countries

16 what should we do?  increase yields and reduce variability  encourage processing in developing countries  think hard about how to include land use change in food labels  consider how to include agroforestry and tree crops in carbon footprints  develop good data and easily accessible databases for tropical regions / countries  explicitly recognise uncertainty and subjectivity  have carbon labels declare if the consultants visited the country of interest  have retailers and industry declare their calculations  develop low cost approaches to calculation and certification  consider combining carbon footprints with other environmental and/or sustainability indicators

17 Thanks to our funders: The World Bank (Michael Jensen & Paul Brenton) UK Research Council (Rural Economy and Land Use Programme) Horticultural Development Council Welsh Assembly Government International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) Contact:


19 Contribution of key variables to the carbon footprint of sugar cane (kg CO 2 e/t sugar cane) delivered to refinery Baseline (0%) is calculated according to PAS 2050. Former land-use: tropical dry forest. 1896

20 Fresh pineapples: Carbon footprint at the farm gate and European import gate Beef: 12-23 kg CO 2 e/kg Cheese: 7-13 kg CO 2 e/kg (figures taken from various sources)

21 Fresh pineapples have a carbon footprint of 11 kg CO 2 e/kg when air freighted to Europe. When they are processed into jam and shipped to Europe the carbon footprint is 1.2 kg CO 2 e/kg.

22 Emissions from food miles Goods that can be shipped have a low vulnerability (e.g. sugar, coffee, tea)

23 Greenhouse gas emissions for beans from Kenya, Uganda and the UK: Cropping stage only

24 Greenhouse gas emissions for beans from Kenya, Uganda and the UK: Total supply chain

25 ‘Driving six and a half miles to buy your shopping emits more carbon than flying a pack of Kenyan green beans to the UK.’ (Department for International Development, UK Govt)

26 Greenhouse gas emissions for lettuce from Spain and the UK Jan-Apr May-Jul Jul-OctNov-Dec 4 0 2

27 Life Cycle Assessment and carbon footprinting Farm Transport Storage & processing Retail INPUTSOUTPUTS Machinery Pesticides Fertiliser Electricity Fuel Food Wastes Pollution Machinery Fuel Machinery Electricity Pollution Wastes Electricity Packaging Wastes Pollution Electricity Fuel Consumption Wastes Pollution Disposal Electricity Fuel Wastes Pollution

28 Variation between different datasets in GHG emissions from the use of a 16 t truck (kg CO 2 e for 1 tonne-km) Data taken from four different LCA databases (BUWAL, Ecoinvent, ETH and Franklin) kg CO 2 e/tonne-km

29 Land use change and developing countries

30 Default values and their ranges for major input variables used during the calculation of emissions resulting from land use change from tropical forest to cropland according to IPCC (2006) tropical moist deciduous foresttropical dry forest Above-ground biomass260 (160-430)120 (120-130)tonnes d.m. ha -1 Litter C stocks2.1 (1.0-3.0) tonnes C ha -1 Soil organic C stocks6538tonnes C ha -1

31 Structure Introduction to product carbon footprinting Scope and communication Carbon footprinting and developing countries Impacts of varying carbon footprinting methods on final results Land use change and developing countries Conclusions

32 Aims of product carbon footprinting For consumers: 1) enable comparison between products and guide purchasing behaviour towards low carbon products 2) opportunity for increased consumer information and understanding

33 Conclusions

34 Sugar cane: Flow diagram planting year on farm processes

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