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Nutrition labeling, meet carbon labeling

Everyone's talking about food miles. (Well not everyone, of course, but more people every day. Now this from the UK, as reported by the Guardian:

The government today said it would work with food producers to create a labelling system showing the environmental impact of each item. [T]he environment secretary, David Miliband, said he hoped the food industry would be able to establish a way to show environmental information on packaging alongside nutritional details.

This kind of "carbon labelling" would help both consumers who often felt "confused and powerless" and producers who felt their environmental efforts were going unrecognised and unrewarded, he said.

The system would be similar to one already announced by Tesco, which said in January that it planned to introduce new labels on the 70,000 products it sells to allow shoppers to compare carbon impacts.

(Thanks to Jamais Cascio for the link, and further musings.)

(We've been doing some thinking about this, and have some tools that we think could help address the challenge. Let me know if you have any interest in contributing intellectually -- or in sponsoring their further development.)

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Comments (1)

The carbon footprint labeling is an idea whose time seems to have finally arrived. Various versions of it have been discussed in the past. There was an interesting experiment done a few years ago at the Leopold Center of Sustainable Agriculture. Just FYI -- here is a closely related piece on product labeling that I wrote back in 2003: http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0714/p09s02-coop.html .

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